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Thriller! Colton’s Richardson’s late-game heroics lift Benicia past Washington in NCS first round matchup


Benicia first baseman Colton Richardson (15) connects for a three-run home run against Washington High School during the sixth inning of an NCS high school baseball playoff game, Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Benicia, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron for the Bay Area News Group)

BENICIA — A dislocated finger wasn’t going to keep Benicia’s Colton Richardson off the field. 

Just after Richardson suffered the injury in the fifth inning, Benicia’s coaching staff wanted to take the first baseman out of the game for good. But with his team down a run and the season on the line, the sophomore came back and recorded the biggest hit of the season. 

Richardson’s go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning was the deciding factor as No. 4 Benicia defeated No. 13 Washington 6-4 in the first round of the North Coast Section Division II playoffs on Wednesday. The Panthers will play Vintage at home in the quarterfinals on Saturday. 

Benicia first baseman Colton Richardson (15) connects for a three-run home run against Washington High School during the sixth inning of an NCS high school baseball playoff game, Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Benicia, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron for the Bay Area News Group) 

“It was kind of a crazy feeling because that’s my son,” said Benicia coach and Colton’s dad, Ryan Richardson. “It was a tough moment because we had to ask him ‘Can you really swing the bat?’ But we put him out there, and holistically as a dad and a coach, I wanted to see him go do that.”

Richardson finished the game 2 for 2 with three RBIs. Junior shortstop Peyton Rowles had two hits and a solo home run. 

Washington junior Ezekiel Venn Porter had two hits and an RBI and sophomore first baseman Ehkam Braich had two RBIs. 

Washington’ Ehkam Braich (34) exults after his single drove in two run against Benicia during the fourth inning of an NCS high school baseball playoff game, Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Benicia, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron for the Bay Area News Group) 

The Panthers struggled to generate consistent offense with Washington pitcher Joseph Banda on the mound. 

Benicia mustered just three hits in the first four innings as Banda’s mix of fastballs and sliders blew past Panther batters. 

The senior pitcher finished the day striking out five and allowing just one earned run in 5 2/3 innings pitched. 

On offense, Washington’s bats did just enough to keep the Fremont school ahead. 

Porter knocked in the first run of the game in the third inning when his single down the third-base line scored sophomore Tyler Stevens. In the fourth, Branch singled to center field to bring home Jacob Odom and Mateo Torres to give Washington a 3-0 lead. 

After five innings, the Huskies led 4-1 and had all the momentum. Knowing what was at stake, Ryan Richardson tried his best to wake his team up. 

“He kind of lit into us a little bit,” Rowles said. “He definitely lit a fire under our butt. But we needed that and it helped a lot. The momentum carried on from there.”

Benicia head coach Ryan Richardson exchanges lineups before his team takes on Washington High School in an NCS high school baseball playoff game, Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Benicia, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron for the Bay Area News Group) 

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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