Hit it if you can... Tazewell’s Keisha Barton fires toward the plate during a game earlier this season. Richlands defeated the Bulldogs 7-2 on Thursday.

TAZEWELL, Va. — Richlands hopes to start a (Blue) streak.

Behind Lindsey Lester’s 11-strikeout performance and a clutch hitting effort, the Lady Blue Tornado halted a long regular season winning streak by old foe Tazewell and stopped the Lady Bulldogs 7-2 Thursday in Southwest District softball action.

Richlands (8-1, 3-0) solidified its hold on first place in the SWD while Tazewell (6-2, 4-1) dropped a half-game behind.

The Lady Blues had a pair of runs in the first and fourth innings, and moved into a comfort zone with their three scores in the fifth frame. Tazewell plated both its runs with a two-out, first-inning rally. Lester then settled down and blanked the Tazewell ladies the rest of the way.

“Lindsey did a real fine job for us,” said Richlands coach Rhonda Blevins. “It’s been a while since we won here. We’ve worked hard inside in the batting cage on our hitting the past few days with the bad weather outside. It paid off today.”

Holly Bandy doubled home Cassie Ringstaff in the top of the first for the visitors after Ringstaff led off with a walk. Bandy scored two batters later on Lester’s bunt along the first base line as Richlands went ahead 2-0. The Lady Blues finished with eight hits.

Tiffany Harris walked, Katelyn Mitchell singled to right and then both raced home on Kari Chaffin’s ringing double to center as Tazewell tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom half of the inning.

Jenny Keene’s infield hit, followed by Morgan Hill’s RBI single, pushed Richlands ahead to stay in the fourth frame as Hill later came around to score. Richlands led 4-2 and added three more in the next inning.

Bandy led off with a base hit, stole second and scored on Evan Ferrell’s double. Ferrell raced home with another run on a Tazewell throwing miscue. Keene’s double and a two-bagger by Hill made it 7-2.

Keisha Barton had a double for Tazewell in the fifth and Leah Patterson got a single in the seventh but Lester maintained command.

Natalie Parsons started on the mound for Tazewell and took the loss. Keisha Barton took over for the final two innings.

“I was proud of our hitting and the defense really stepped up today,” said the Lester, the junior Richlands right-hander, who allowed only 5 hits. “It has taken us a while to win against Tazewell but we finally got that done.”

Bandy and Hill had a pair of hits apiece for Richlands and Hill was solid defensively, as well. Bandy made several key outfield plays for the Lady Blues. Chaffin had two hits for the Lady Bulldogs and sparkled at second base. Katelyn Mitchell added a good glove at first.

“The better team won today,” noted Tazewell coach Tom Keene. “We congratulate Richlands and we will work to try to get better.”

Tazewell plays Tuesday at Virginia High while Richlands will host Honaker today at 5 p.m.

Richlands........................200 230 0 — 7 8 x

Tazewell...........................200 000 0 — 2 5 x

WP – Lester. LP –Parsons. 2B—(R) Bandy, Hill (T) Chaffin.

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