Freshman pitcher Lauren Simerly took the spotlight Aug. 19 by pitching a complete game as the Lady Cats gained a 13-3 non-region win over Bradwell Institute in Hinesville.
Simerly struck out eight batters and gave up only three hits. Her coaches say Simerly is showing signs reminiscent of last year’s freshman pitching phenom Jena Reddick. Despite the urging of her coaches, Reddick decided not to play this year. Simerly previously saw success as a dominant force on last year’s middle school squad.
Also shining at the Bradwell game was newcomer Kayla Herring, who recently moved to Richmond Hill from Alabama. In addition to a superior performance at second base, Herring scored two runs and went three for four with an RBI.
Alex Hefner dominated at the plate as well with two powerful hits, including one triple and four RBIs.
"Overall, it was a strong team effort," Assistant Coach Sean Strickland said. "One through nine in the batting order were effective and the defense was pretty flawless."
Strickland said the defensive effort this night was a good sign as defense has struggled thus far.
"I’m not saying it’s bad, but there is room for improvement," Strickland said. "I mean, we made Long County five defensive errors. It was much better Tuesday though. We need some more speed for one thing. We feel real good about our offense, and we’re only going to get better at both."
Pitching wise, Strickland said he is very confident. He said the depth with pitchers Stefanie Ortiz, Hillary Roberts and Lauren Simerly is what the Lady Cats need to succeed.
Strickland said he looks at the new Region 3-AAA lineup as a positive thing for the program. Starting this year, Region 3-AAA is Richmond Hill, Baldwin, Burke County, Liberty County, Thomson, Washington County and West Laurens.
"I firmly believe we are good enough to be region champs," Strickland said.
He anticipates the biggest opposition to come from West Laurens and Thomson, two traditional powerhouse softball programs.
Next up for the Lady Cats is the annual ‘Battle In the Boro’ in Statesboro this weekend. The Cats took second place in last week’s Savannah tourney, but Strickland said this one will be tougher.
"We’re already slated to face three very tough teams – Statesboro, Vidalia and Savannah Christian, but I’m still very confident in the potential of this group of girls." Strickland said.