Richmond Hill High School ace Kevin Matthews struck out 13 batters and scattered four hits over seven innings and Nathan Ward hit a two-run homer to lead the Wildcats past Ware County 9-2 on Friday in Waycross.
Matthews improved to 3-1 for the Wildcats, who picked up their first Region 2A-AAAA win under first-year coach Stacey Bennett.
The Wildcats (7-5, 1-4) fell behind 1-0 before scoring two runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings and three in the seventh to seal the win.
Ward went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs while scoring three runs and getting on base after being hit by a pitch.
Ryan Esenwein was 2-for-4 and drove in two runs. Hunter Hadley drove in two runs and Nick Fitzgerald doubled in a run for the Wildcats, who also got an RBI-single from Adam Moe and a base hit and two stolen bases from Alex Real.
The Wildcats open up a nine-game home stand beginning Tuesday when they play host to No. 1-ranked Wayne County in a region contest.
Notes: The game is "Cats Night Out" and the 2011 baseball team will be officially introduced. In addition, The Matthew Freman Project: Pens and Papers for Peace, will be honored and Lisa Freeman will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Also prior to the game, the Home Run Association will recognize Allen Clark and his maintenance staff for their work to improve Wildcat Field.
Richmond Hill 002 220 3 - 9 8 1
Ware County 100 000 1 - 2 4 3
WP: Kevin Matthews (3-1) RH
LP: Mac Arnold WC
RH: Matthews: 7.0 innings, 13 strikeouts, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks.
WC: Arnold: 4.0 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 earned runs.
- Nathan Ward: 2-2, Home Run, Single, 2 RBI, 3 runs scored, 1 Hit-by-pitch.
- Ryan Esenwein: 2-4, 2 Singles, 2 RBI, 1 Reached-in- error.
- Nick Fitzgerald, 1-3, Double, 1 RBI.
- Adam Moe, 1 RBI; Hunter Hadley, 2 RBI; Alex Real, 2 stolen bases, and all 3 had Singles.
- Bill Kilmer contributed to this report.