Richmond’s Nick Adams forces St. Dom’s runner Mathew Gosselin at second base following a flyout to the outfield for a double play during Friday’s high school baseball game in Richmond. The Saints won in 9 innings, 5-4. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

RICHMOND — With this year’s high school baseball season played under abnormal cool and wet conditions throughout the entire spring, the warm temperatures and bright sun were a welcomed sight on Friday afternoon, even if it was the last game of the regular season. 

Both St. Dom’s and Richmond liked it enough, they decided to play nine innings, the second consecutive game of extra baseball for the Bobcats. 

Justin Vachon of Richmond, slides safely into home plate in front of St. Dom’s pitcher Derek Wolverton after a wild pitch in the first inning during Thursday’s high school baseball game. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

Unlike Wednesday’s thriller over Buckfield, Richmond was not able to replicate, as the visiting Saints came away with a 5-4 win. 

“This was a good win for us today,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman said. “This win will move us up a little in the (Class C South) Heal Points. We should host a preliminary game next week.” 

St. Dom’s finished the regular season 7-9, while Richmond, who will finish second in Class D South, dropped to 10-5. 

Both teams will await the final standings available in the upcoming days. 

The Saints took advantage of three Bobcat errors in the top half of the ninth to come away with the victory. Riley Volpe, who started the game for the Saints, but fell ill in the first inning after facing only three batters, returned to the mound to get the final two outs in the seventh and retiring the final eight batters for the win. 

Richmond’s Nick Adams jumps over St. Dom’s runner Derek Wolverton to catch a throw as the Saints runner safely slides into second base on a steal attempt during Friday’s high school baseball game in Richmond. The Saints won in 9 innings, 5-4. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

“He’s been battling for us and not feeling well the last couple of weeks,” Blackman said. “He did a good job for us out there today.” 

Of course you want to win, but this was a good game for us. I wanted a clean baseball game and other than a couple of mishaps late, it was,” Richmond coach Ryan Gardner said. “We lost our regular season game to St. Dom’s last year and we told the kids that ‘this was the last time we wanted to have this feeling.’ And we told them that again today.” 

The Bobcats went on to win the 2018 State Class D Championship following that loss. 

With postseason play in the near future for both ball clubs heading into Thursday’s game, the teams came into the contest looking for a good game. 

Richmond put a run across the plate first after Dakotah Gilpatric lead off the bottom half of the first inning with a walk and Andy Vachon followed with a single and Justin Vachon walked to load the bases. 

Derek Wolverton relieved Volpe and was able to hold Richmond to just one run, that coming on a wild pitch. 

“We have to score more than that in those situations,” Gardner said. “To only score one run, that on a wild pitch, that was a little discouraging.” 

St. Dom’s answered with two runs in the second off hits from Jacques Ouellette, Zachary Pelletier and Mathew Gosselin, with single runs in the third and fourth innings. 

Richmond creeps back 

St. Dom’s catcher Michael Ciley, right, blocks a pitch in the dirt as Richmond’s Danny Stewart, left, checks his swing in Friday’s high school baseball game in Richmond. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

Trailing 4-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, Richmond’s Justin Vachon lead off the frame with a walk and moved to second on a steal. A wild pitch moved him to third, and the junior came in to score on Mitch Couturier fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to one. Hunter Hughes relieved Wolverton on the mound for St. Dom’s and after Saints catcher Michael Ciley threw out his second runner of the game, Hughes fanned the next Richmond batter, stranding the tying run. 

“We have some guys that can come in and throw strikes,” Blackman said. “We have a strong defensive unit and they made the plays they had to today.” 

With St. Dom’s holding on to the one run lead, Richmond’s Cole Alexander, who relieved starting pitcher Gilpatric to start the fifth, retired the first eight batters he faced, including a leadoff walk to William Laflamme in the sixth that was erased when catcher Ben Gardner threw him out on a steal attempt for a strike out, throw out, double play. 

“I felt good, just playing pass with Ben (Gardner) behind the plate,” Alexander said. “I knew I was going to have to throw some today so I was ready.” 

But with two outs, in the seventh, Wolverton reached on an error and Volpe singled to the right center gap. Wolverton rounded third and headed for home, but the Richmond throw to the plate was cut off and Volpe was tagged out while running to second before the runner crossed home plate. 

“That run could have made a huge difference right there whether we played extra innings or not,” Blackman said. “We need to be little more aware on the bases.” 

“I thought our defense played strong today,” the Richmond coach said. “That play in the seventh sparked us a little.” 

An infield error put Andy Vachon on second to lead off the seventh. A sacrifice bunt by Justin Vachon moved him to third and the former came in to score on Danny Stewart’s fielder’s choice. Volpe relieved Wolverton and recorded the final two outs. 

“I haven’t felt well for awhile,” Volpe said. “Coach told me a couple of innings before I came in that I might if I was up to it.”
Apparently he was, notching four strikeouts in the final two and 2/3 innings once he returned. 

“We will take some of these mistakes and learn from them,” Blackman said. “We had a touch schedule this year and to play a talented team like Richmond, we’ll be ready for the playoffs.” 

Coach Gardner could not agree more. 

“St. Dom’s is a good team and we know we have to bring it against a team like this, it’s good for us,” Gardner said. 

Alexander pitched five innings, allowing three hits, while striking out three and walking none. Gilpatric allowed four runs on five hits, striking out three and walking two. 

At the plate, Andy Vachon had two singles, while Stewart, Adam Beaulieu and Nick Adams each singled in the loss. 

Pelletier and Laflamme were each repeat hitters for the Saints, who collected nine hits on the day. 

Wolverton pitched four and 2/3 innings, allowing four hits. Hughes pitched one and 2/3, allowing an unearned run on no hits, while fanning three Bobcats. 

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