Big offensive innings have been Richmond Hill baseball’s forte so far this season and none was bigger than a 10 run second inning at Benedictine on Friday to make a winner of Scott Strickland (4-1) and move the Wildcats into second place in region 3-AAA. The 12-6 win improved the Cats season record to 9-5, 2-1 while the Cadets fell to 4-9, 1-3.
It was another steady performance by the Richmond Hill ace to hold the Cadets to just four hits, while striking out ten in six innings of work. Strickland was relieved in the seventh after walking the lead off batter, his fourth walk of the game. With his pitch count well over 100, head coach Mitchell Curry went to the mound and brought Heath Tucker with him to relieve Strickland.
Tucker finished the game giving up three hits that led to three runs to make the score seem closer than the outcome really was. The only real relief Strickland and the Wildcats needed was provided by some opportunistic power in the second inning.
Kyle Huganin started the game for Benedictine and, after stranding Cameron Corbin who led the game off with a line drive double, seemed to be in control. That feeling was dispelled in the second when Wildcat Matt Schlag led off the inning with a monster home run over the left center field wall. That bad omen for the Cadets was followed by an error, a hit batsman and a throwing error on Steven Boaen’s sacrifice bunt that allowed two more runs to cross the plate.Next, Josh Futch walked and stole second base and advanced to third when the throw got away from the second baseman. Boaen also scored on the play and when Corbin followed with an RBI double, his second in as many innings, Benedictine coach Bill Curley had seen enough.
Cadet Kyle Tootle was brought on to relieve, still with nobody out in the inning and already facing a five run deficit. After walking Strickland designated hitter Nathan Kilburn stroked a single, and Aaron Pittsley followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field to score Corbin and finally give the Cadets their first out of the inning.
Schlag followed with another scorching line drive for a double that just missed going out when it hit the top of the left field fence driving in another run. The Cats were still not through.
First baseman Jeremy Goolsby cleaned the bases two pitches later with his first home run of the season a towering shot to straight away left field for three RBI’s and the tenth run scored in the inning. Goolsby would add some insurance in the seventh with another home run off of Tootle, a two run shot that followed Schlag’s single. Schlag finished the game going 3 for 4 with a home run, a double, and two RBI’s, while Goolsby was 2 for 4 with two homers and five RBI’s. Cameron Corbin was 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI’s as well. The nine hit attack was one of the season’s best outputs but if it were not for that second inning the outcome might have been different.
In between the second and the seventh innings, Tootle settled down and started getting ahead in the count more and staying away from the middle of the plate with his fastball. The Wildcats did not have a hit from the third inning to the sixth when Strickland doubled but was stranded, but, the way Strickland was pitching, he was not going to need much help.
The Cadets struck for three runs in the fourth inning, but Strickland got out of the jam then mowed the Cadets down the next two innings with four of his ten strike outs.
Richmond Hill will travel Friday to Burke County for a 6 p.m. start. The Bears are currently tied with Richmond Hill for second place in the region also with a 2-1 record. On Saturday, they will host Hephzibah at 1 p.m. for another important region game.