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Mavs’ Richardson says circle is where she belongs

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | April 26, 2024 1:50 AM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake High School softball pitcher Paige Richardson said one of the most appealing things about the game is the chance it gives her to test herself.

“I think a lot of it is the adrenaline that comes from it,” she said. “I love getting that rush, to just have that sense of urgency. I just want to be out there.”

She wants to do well for her team, she said, and while softball requires practice, there’s a payoff at the end. 

“Some days it’s hard to go to practice, just because it’s so much. Game days are definitely a favorite, for sure,” Richardson said. “I just look forward to the end of the week when it’s game day. You’re so excited, you’re pumped up, you’re just ready to beat that next team.”

Richardson and fellow Mavs pitcher Morgan Ross are anchors for the Mavericks, 12-0 on the season. Richardson pitched a no-hitter in her latest game, a 10-0 win over Davis; it’s her third no-hitter of the season. 

Richardson has a 1.282 earned run average for the season, with 64 strikeouts and eight earned runs. She’s given up 25 hits and walked seven batters. She’s helped herself at the plate, too — in 2024 she has 12 hits in 21 at-bats, with six runs batted in, one home run, a triple and three doubles. 

The week she pitched two no-hitters and went 2-for-3 in both games, including that home run, earned her Athlete of the Week honors from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

“Paige has worked really hard at her craft in the circle and her success this season is a result of that,” wrote Mavs Coach Mike Hofheins in an email to the Columbia Basin Herald. 

It’s a team game too, and Richardson said the team plays a crucial role in pitching success.

“A lot of it has to do with the team,” she said. “If your team is behind you, pumping you up, it gets you going, it really does. It helps you out and makes your mood better.”

Hofheins said that the sense of teamwork and shared responsibility plays a crucial role.

“Our pitching staff knows that the defense behind them determines team success. There is pressure being the one in the circle, but our pitchers would be the first to acknowledge they could not have the success we’ve had without a strong defense,” Hofheins wrote. “Our defense this season is really solid and when our pitchers are on a roll, they want to make plays for them.” 

Richardson said that solid defense makes a difference.

“They’re always back there, backing me up,” she said. “If someone hits a little bloop off me, they’ve got that.”

Mutual support is a feature of the pitching staff.

“Both Paige and Morgan are having outstanding years. Over their careers they genuinely want the other to succeed, which pushes them both to be better each day,” he wrote. 

Pitching is one of the most pressure-packed positions on the field, out there in the circle with no place to hide if things go wrong. But she’s been pitching most of her life, practicing with her dad Bob Richardson. 

“With my dad being my pitching coach, he’d always have me in the backyard, pitching. Even when I didn’t want to,” she said.

But Dad had the right instinct.

“I don’t know — that’s just where I belong. I would rather be there than anywhere else on the field,” she said. 

Bob Richardson said pitching is a skill, and it takes a long time to learn how to do it properly.

“Of course having the physical ability and getting the technique down is huge. It takes thousands upon thousands of reps to become comfortable with your pitch selection and your accuracy. The biggest thing with pitchers is that mental toughness and being able to work through those tough innings. There will be days that a girl will struggle, but being able to work through that is the sign of a good pitcher,” he wrote.

There are days, Paige said, when a pitcher has to be ready regardless.

“Honestly, I have no choice but to go out there and try to pitch my best even when I’m not feeling it,” she said. “There are days when I’m not feeling it, and then I pitched my best game.”

Richardson got the call for the game against Glacier Peak, the state runner-up in 2023, and that game was that kind of test.

“And you know, we beat them, and I pitched and I was solid out there,” she said. “And I was nervous for that game.”

The biggest test of the season so far is dead ahead, a game against defending state champion Henry Jackson High School (Mill Creek) this weekend. That’s followed by a doubleheader with Richland High School, a team that has always been a challenge for the Mavericks. Richardson said she likes the Mavs’ chances.

“I think we’re going to do great. It’s a different team this year than it has been the last few years. We’re really solid on our offense, and the same with our defense,” she said. “We’re just overall pretty solid this year, and I’m excited to see how far we go, and what we do at district and state.”

Bob Richardson said all her hard work has paid off.

“As a player Paige is a leader. Her teammates respect her and the younger girls look up to her. Coaching her over the years has been a pleasure and something I will always cherish. We have a lot of great memories,” he said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her and her accomplishments,” Bob Richardson said. “She is going to do great things, and I am excited to be along for the ride.”

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.


Editor’s Note: Bob Richardson is the General Manager of the Columbia Basin Herald. This story was presented because Paige Richardson earned recognition by being selected as a WIAA Athlete of the Week. We congratulate her on her achievement.


    Paige Richardson, right, and her dad Bob Richardson display Paige’s MVP and the team’s runner-up trophy from the 2023 national softball championship tournament.
 
 
    Moses Lake pitcher Paige Richardson has proven herself out at the plate this season, going 2-for-3 in two separate games where she pitched no-hitters.
 
 
    Paige Richardson, front, with sister and fellow softball player Brooke Richardson.
 
 
    Pitcher Paige Richardson said the circle is where she belongs on the softball field.
 
 
    Paige Richardson snaps a selfie with her dad Bob Richardson at a Seahawks game.