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Accelerated curve
Richmond Hill’s Stephanie Ortiz pitches against Groves on Saturday to pick up one of her two wins on the day for the Lady Wildcats, the other win came against Calvary Day School. - photo by Photo by Terry Logan

With only three returning starters from last year, last year’s starting pitching staff gone, and a new head coach, Jodi Regan figures 2007 to be a rebuilding year for the Lady Wildcats. A sloppy, error prone loss to Bryan County on opening day seemed to confirm it. But Coach Regan said her team had a good day of practice, and she made some minor adjustments to the line-up. She then stood back and watched her team roll over three teams at Paulson Complex in the annual 3-AAAAA invitational this past week-end.

It seems the rebuilding might be on a more accelerated schedule than Regan had originally thought.

Richmond Hill beat Camden County 6-2 in their first round game, demolished Groves 13-1 in five innings, then advanced to beat previously unbeaten Calvary Day School 6-4 in the first winners bracket game. The Lady Wildcats were playing in their fifth game in three days of grueling heat and just didn’t have it in them against a much larger and hard hitting Wayne County team that won the championship game 11-3.

The Lady Wildcats are now 3-2 in the early season and will have another week-end invitational tournament this week in Brunswick before moving right in to their region 3-AAA schedule the first week in September. Coach Regan will be counting on her young pitchers to pick up where they left off in Savannah.

Hillary Roberts gave up three straight hits and two runs against Camden County in the first inning then settled down to hold them scoreless the rest of the way making good use of her defense and adding 3 strikeouts with only 2 walks. The young, shored up defense had Melanie Goolsby at short stop for the first time in her career, but they managed to record eleven ground outs with only one error to frustrate the Camden Ladies.

Stephanie Ortiz was next against Groves and her weapon of choice would be the strikeout. Ortiz held the Lady Rebels to just one hit while striking out seven in just four innings of work. She would make back to back starts and beat Calvary in the next game as well. It wasn’t until the nightcap against Wayne County that she finally started

leaving the ball up a little and the good hitting Wayne County crew took advantage, but it was an impressive day's work none the less. She had a little help along the way too.

Through the first three games on Saturday the Lady Cats exploded for 33 hits and 25 runs giving their pitching all the help they would need. They did it with a minimum of strike outs and always seemed to be putting the ball in play and the pressure squarely on their opponents' defense.

Against Camden Melanie Goolsby went 2 for 3 with 3 runs, while Jenna Reddick hit 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI’s.

Goolsby kept it up against Groves when she went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI’s, Reddick went 2 for 3, with 2 RBI’s, Caitlyn Casey was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI’s and Margaret Goolsby was 2 for 3 a triple and 3 RBI’s.

The hits kept coming against Calvary as Melanie Goolsby had a triple and 3 more RBI’s, Casey 1 for 2, 2 RBI’s, Erin Hefner was 2 for 3, and Stephanie Ortiz helped her own cause with a 2 for 3 game.

All this with coach Regan’s rebuilding her "young" top of the order - the 2, 3, and 4 spots are all manned by freshmen. She is pitching a junior ( Ortiz) as her ace and a sophomore (Roberts) backing her up. Sounds like a good formula for a run at the state playoffs, next year. But, given the start they jumped out to this past weekend, don’t count them out for 2007.

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