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A diamond in the rough?

POSTED: March 5, 2018 8:51 a.m.
Photo courtesy of Pam Shuman/

Richmond Hill's Buckey Bayens crosses the plate against South Effingham last week.

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Stacy Bennett wasn’t happy his Richmond Hill baseball team dropped two straight games to South Effingham, but he sees a benefit in the experience.

“You never like to lose, but this early in the season it’s great to be involved in one-run games,” he said. “That can help us in region play.”

The Wildcats fell to the Mustangs 4-3 Friday and 3-2 Thursday after having won the first game of the series 1-0.

Richmond Hill took a 3-0 lead at home Friday night in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded, Will Shuman beat out a grounder to deep short, scoring Tyler Harrison and Buckey Bayens. Jackson Finley, who had walked to load the bases, later scored on a passed ball.

Nick McCollum then struck out the side in the top of the third for the Wildcats. He had 10 on the game.

In the top of the fifth, the Mustangs used two Richmond Hill errors and three consecutive bunts to score twice. South Effingham used two more Wildcat errors, a hit batter and a triple to right field to score twice in the top of the seventh and take a 4-3 lead. Richmond Hill went down in order in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

The Wildcats took the first game of the series 1-0. Bayens had two hits and drove in Richmond Hill’s only run, while Finley threw a two-hitter and struck out 13. In game two, Kasey Green went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, but the Mustangs scored in the bottom of the seventh for a 4-3 win.

“Defense has won us a lot of games, but we made some mistakes and they made us pay for it,” Bennett said Friday night. “They put down some nice bunts when they needed to.”

Still, Bennett thinks the experience will benefit the Wildcats in the long run.

“We know we’re going to get everyone’s best every night,” he said. “That’s why we scheduled Statesboro. They beat us twice last year.”

Richmond Hill, now 7-2, plays the Blue Devils three times this week, including tonight and Friday at home and Wednesday in Statesboro. All games are at 6 p.m.

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