Every game for Richmond Hill softball, this part of the season, gets a little more important than the last. In every game lately, the Lady Cats new-found pitching ace seems to get a little better.
Freshman Jena Reddick took a shutout against a powerful South Effingham squad on Tuesday only to have her defense collapse in a 5-0 region loss, then bounced back on one day's rest to blank Liberty County on Thursday. Head coach Jodi Reagan is as amazed at her freshman pitchers sudden rise in the ranks of the region's best pitchers as much as her opponents have been.
"She is really doing the job. I would like to rotate my pitchers more but these games are so big now I can’t afford to set her down." said Reagan of her ace.
Reagan admits, however, that she may not have a choice but to start those other pitchers, Stefanie Ortiz and Alex Hefner soon. The Lady Cats host a double header today against Hephzibah beginning at 11 a.m., then will travel to Burke County next Saturday for another double header, in between they travel to St. Vincent’s on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 4:30 p.m.
Richmond Hill is now in second place in the region; in control of their own destiny, but coach Reagan would feel a lot better if her girls bats would come back to life and she did not have to rely so heavily on pitching and defense.
Richmond Hill has four hits in the last three games and somehow managed to win two of those three. On Tuesday against South Effingham, they may have had a good excuse.
South Effingham’s Sally Faircloth locked up with Reddick in an old fashioned pitchers duel. Both pitchers used their defense and the strike out to their best advantage early. Finally in the fourth, Reddick would have to overcome some adversity by getting out of a bases loaded jam, but it was the sixth inning that did the Lady Cats in.
A slap double down the left field line, the only hard hit ball against Reddick the entire game, started the inning. A walk, an error, a couple of misplayed balls on the infield, and then a couple of more base hits and the next thing the Lady Cats new five runs had crossed the plate for the Lady Mustangs.
Reddick deserved better but it didn’t matter because Faircloth held Richmond Hill in check the entire game. The ladies would find a way to manufacture some runs against Liberty County.
Melanie Goolsby walked and stole two bases to get to third in the first inning but was stranded with three strike outs. It wasn’t until the fourth that they would finally get untracked.
Lauren Davis led off and reached first base on an error for Richmond Hill. A fielders choice and walk to Erin Hefner found courtesy runner Karysa Ventura at second base with one out. Then finally catcher Caitlyn Casey’s hard hit single to right field scored Ventura for the games first run of the game. Next Alex Hefner walked, and Margaret Goolsby walked to drive in Hefner.
Liberty County’s pitcher was starting to struggle and gave up one more run when courtesy runner Katie Nance scored on a wild pitch. It was more than enough for Reddick. Thirteen strike outs, 2 walks, on 2 hits was the final line for Richmond Hill’s new star pitcher and she was helped by her defense.
Alex Hefner at second base made a nice shoestring catch in the fifth inning, Casey threw out a runner in the sixth, and an unusual force from right field to second base was turned in the seventh to help Reddick from allowing the Lady panthers to rally.
With the win, Richmond Hill improved to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in region 3-AAA.