After getting some revenge for a narrow earlier loss to Benedictine on Friday, a 15-7 slugfest that kept their slim hopes of a post season appearance alive, Richmond Hill saw those hopes dashed in a 1-0 no hit loss at Burke County.
The polar opposite games lend credence to an old baseball adage that says good pitching trumps good hitting. Brandon Love for the Bears; Raul Rodriguez and Matt Graney for the Wildcats were proof of that on Saturday.
The Bear left hander struck out 15 on his way to the complete game win. He did have five walks, three of them coming in the fifth inning but rallied out of the jam with an inning ending strike out. While the Wildcat mound duo didn’t throw the no hitter, they were almost equally as impressive.
Rodriguez would pitch into the fourth inning, striking out four while walking just one. His only transgression being a lead-off homer to Bear designated hitter Daniel Braswell. Graney would come on in the inning to get his team out of further trouble and would continue the feat the rest of the way. Richmond Hill just could not break through offensively. Perhaps they used up all their hits for the week on Friday.
The Wildcats used 16 hits to score those 15 runs against the Cadets on Friday including three home runs, but no one has contributed more offensively of late than Wildcat designated hitter Nathan Kilburn.
Not only is the Richmond Hill senior hitting for power - two home runs including a third inning grand slam - he is hitting the ball to all parts of the field. A first inning single was pulled through the left side of the infield, and a seventh inning RBI double was to right field. One home run went to the left power alley, the other cleared the fence in the right power alley. His six RBI’s nearly matched his opponents output but he did have help.
Impressive days were turned in by: Tyler Mitchell - a pair of doubles, a single, an RBI, and 2 runs scored. Raul Rodriguez - three for three with a double, an RBI, and four runs scored. John Johnson - two for three, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored, Jeremey Goolsby - hit the other home run for the Wildcats, a towering solo shot in the fourth inning, and narrowly missed another in the first inning when the Cadet left fielder had to run in to the fence to grab a deep fly ball off the first baseman’s bat.
Head coach Mitchell Curry commented before the game that he hoped his team would come out swinging, and they did. The Wildcats scored in every inning, they just didn’t save anything for the next day. But the pitching for Richmond Hill on Friday wasn’t too shabby either.
Alex Tucker was the recipient of all those runs but did his job too. The Richmond Hill senior kept the Cadet hitters off balance for three innings, giving up just one run. Benedictine rallied for three runs in the fourth. In the fifth, three walks and an error had the Richmond Hill senior in a bases loaded jam and Richmond Hill’s comfortable lead in doubt.
Matt Graney came out of the bullpen and got the final out in the inning on a fly ball, limiting Benedictine to just three more runs. Graney pitched a scoreless sixth, making Tucker the winning pitcher of record. Kyle Tootle took the loss for the Cadets.
Richmond Hill ( 11-9, 2-6) will now play the season out for pride and make hope to make a strong finish. They will end their season this Friday at home against Hephzibah, a double header that starts at 4 p.m. with the second game slated for 6 p.m.