One of head coach Jodi Reagan’s fears about playing a team of lesser status is that her team may "play down" to the level of competition.
Monday afternoon, she saw her team allow a first inning run; squander a bases loaded opportunity in the bottom half of the inning and went to the second tied at one.
From the second inning to the fifth, the Richmond Hill coaches’ fears dissipated as the Lady Cats rolled to an 11-1 region win over St. Vincents in five innings. Richmond Hill improved to 7-4, 2-1 region 3-AAA.
The Lady Cats will now step up the level of competition with a grudge match against a good Bryan County team this afternoon at Wildcat Field - they lost the first meeting in the first game of the season. Then the playing level ratchets up even more with a visit from South Effingham on September 25. Coach Reagan speculated afterwards on what it would take to win both these games.
"Consistency, on defense, with our bats, and pitching well - not allowing walks... We just need to be more relaxed. Sometimes our girls think too much about what we try to teach them instead of just doing it." said coach Reagan on her young team’s chances.
Junior Stefanie Ortiz got the start against St. Vincents and managed to sandwich a pair of strikeouts between a base hit and three walks in that bumpy first inning to allow the Saints only run. She settled down after that, picked up two more strikeouts, let her defense help her out some, and departed the game after three innings with a comfortable 8-1 lead.
Her team mates helped ice the game for Ortiz in the second.
Melanie Goolsby, who doubled and scored in the first, drove in a run after a couple of Wildcat walks with a single in the second. St. Vincent walked a couple more, had a couple of throwing errors in the inning, and then Caitlyn Casey’s rbi double forced them in to an early pitching change, with the bases still loaded and only one out.
Nora Cox got the start for the Lady Saints and was tagged with the loss - she was relieved by Casey Tuttle. The Lady Cats didn’t treat Tuttle much better. Two walks and singles by freshmen Lauren Davis, Margaret Goolsby and Katie Nance finished out the inning and gave Richmond Hill all the cushion they would need: 7-1.
Casey, another freshman, would finish the game 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s. Melanie Goolsby finished with a pair of hits, as did Margaret Goolsby and Erin Hefner.
Sophomore Alex Hefner drew the mop up duties, she relieved Ortiz on the mound in the fourth inning and pitched scoreless softball the rest of the way. Hefner struck out three while walking only one and giving up only one hit.
Even as the rest of Reagan’s young substitutes came in at the end of the game the Wildcats managed to dominate. Getting those young players to continue playing with maturity figures to be a key factor to Richmond Hill’s playoff hopes.