The Mulhall-Orlando Panthers couldn’t have had a more perfect way to advance to the Class B regionals. Thomas Richardson struck out 11 and was a walk from getting a perfect game in his second no-hitter of the season — a 10-0 victory over Oilton Friday. That outing earned Richardson the News Press Area Athlete of the Week honors.

“I guess I was just in a groove,” Richardson said. “I was throwing well and hitting my spots. My teammates helped me out.”

The victory improved Richardson to 4-0 this season. Mulhall-Orlando enters its Class B regional with a 17-6 record — winning nine of its last 11. Richardson said the team has momentum entering regionals

“We’re hitting the ball better,” Richardson said. “I guess God has been good to us.”

Richardson isn’t just contributing on the mound, he is also doing so at the plate. In Thursday’s 12-2 victory over Prue, Richardson hit a triple, drove in a run and stole a base. In the first game against Oilton, he tripled with a RBI. In Friday’s game, Richardson hit two doubles and stole two bases.

Despite the Panthers’ solid record they enter Thursday’s 11 a.m. game against No. 6 Dover unranked. Richardson said the team is using that as motivation.

“We may not have as good of a record but we’ve played a tougher schedule,” Richardson said. “We are coming in as the low seed but we are embracing the underdog role.”

Honorable mention

Tracy Eisensmith, Mulhall-Orlando baseball

Eisensmith’s bat helped the Panthers win the district tournament and advance to regionals. In the three games, he hit a double, drove in two runs and stole six bases.

Ripley pitchers

Agra and Davenport couldn’t get anything going against the Warriors pitchers’ in Thursday and Friday’s district tournament. Chandler Salinas, Cory Sadler and Houston Twoguns combined to give up one run. Salinas and Twoguns combined for 16 strikeouts in two shutout victories.

Ryan Weathers, Coyle baseball

Weathers went 3 for 3, with two home runs and 5 RBIs to power the Bluejackets to a 10-2 victory over Mason to clinch Coyle’s first regional berth in 15 years.

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