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Swantek delivers key hit for Richmond PHOTO GALLERY

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Three-run double continues `true team effort'

EAST LANSING >> This time, it was Evelyn Swantek’s turn.

The junior catcher smacked a three-run double to push Richmond into a 4-0 lead, and the Blue Devils went on to a 4-2 victory over Escanaba in a state Division 2 semifinal softball game at Michigan State University on Thursday.

“It feels pretty great,” Swantek said after the Blue Devils had secured a second consecutive berth in the state finals.

Richmond has typically gotten clutch performances from junior shortstop Carley Barjaktarovich and sophomore pitcher Erin Shuboy in its six state playoff victories.

Barjaktarovich had two hits, the only player in the semifinal with more than one, and she scored a run against Escanaba.

Shuboy struck out seven Eskymos and limited the Upper Peninsula team to a pair of runs despite allowing six walks as her 2017 tournament record improved to 6-0.

But in this game those two shared leading roles with the right-handed-hitting Swantek, whose smash to right-center cleared the bases and gave the Blue Devils, whose three previous games went extra innings, a relatively big lead.

“We got a key hit, and that’s all it took,” Richmond coach Howard Stuart said.

In the quarterfinals, Emma Caperton’s single in the eighth inning gave Richmond the lead in what would become a 4-2 victory over Dearborn Divine Child.

A game earlier, in a regional final, Ashley Teltow’s suicide bunt drove home the winning run in a nine-inning, 2-1 victory over Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day.

In the Blue Devils’ regional semifinal, Amy Theume’s eighth-inning bunt moved Barjaktarovich into scoring position before Shuboy delivered an RBI single in a 1-0 triumph over North Branch.

That’s how the tournament has gone for the Blue Devils, who take a 33-4 record into the 10 a.m. Saturday final against Ida.

“It’s a true team effort,” Barjaktarovich said. “Every single girl on this team plays their role.

“It’s nice to see everybody get their job done.”

Shuboy, who pitched a no-hitter against Vicksburg in the 2016 state final, threw 111 pitches against Escanaba as Richmond beat the Eskymos in the semifinals for the second time in as many years.

“She was tough,” Stuart said.

Richmond had to wait to learn its championship-game opponent.

Ida beat Stevensville Lakeshore 3-2 in the second semifinal at Secchia Stadium.

“No matter who we play, they’re going to be a tough team,” Barjaktarovich said. “It helps having been here and being on the stage.”

Ida, the Lenawee County Athletic Association champion, is 36-7.

Last Updated: 6/15/2017 7:54:54 PM EST