After suffering four straight losses Richmond Hill seems to have caught their breath this past week by reeling off three wins in a row including a make up, blow out of Bradwell on Monday 21-4. An impressive 4-1 win over highly regarded Effingham County on Tuesday 4-1, and a 5-2 win on Wednesday against Brantley County.
The three day, three win streak will not allow the Wildcats to take another breath, however, before a South Effingham visit that occurred yesterday and then another home game against Liberty County on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.. Richmond Hill has now improved on the season to 9-7. According to head coach Mitchell Curry the sudden turn around may be due to his teams collective realization that they no longer have anything left to lose and therefore no longer have the pressure on them. " It has been frustrating to lose the way we have recently, we think we have a decent ball club and now we just can’t live in the past".
The Wildcats will now start their second run through the region 3-AAA South knowing their chances of a post season birth are slim, their new role now being that of a spoiler. If their pitching continues to shine as it has the last few outings, they just might surprise a few teams.
Alex Tucker pitched the game of his career against Effingham when he confounded the Rebels for seven innings, striking out nine batters, not allowing a walk, and giving up only five hits and one run. The Richmond Hill senior faced only 27 batters, forced eight ground ball outs and his team mates committed just two errors to back him up. They would also provide him all the run support he would need early on.
Two walks, then singles by Jeremy Goolsby, John Johnson, Jacob Thrash and Taylor Smith in the first inning helped the Wildcats plate four runs, and would make the Rebel’s D.J. Collins the loser, as it was more than enough run support for Tucker.
"I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with Tucker’s performance, his stuff was like magic. He had their free swingers missing by a lot. That is the kind of outing we have been expecting from him and hopefully he can help us turn the corner," said Curry on his hurler's night on the mound. Against Brantley Curry, he would use his bullpen to get the job done.
Ryan Dickey started the game and pitched effectively for less than three innings, giving up only a lead off solo home run to the Herons Daniel Hollingsworth who took a slow trot around the bases, slowing down even more as he passed the Wildcat dugout. From that point on there was a little bit more intensity in the game and a bit more noise coming from the dugout.
The Herons Robert Middleton didn't make it easy for the Cats, he used an effective fastball to keep Richmond Hill in check for the first three innings until they finally broke through in the fourth.
Johnson has started picking up his pace at the plate recently and scored the first Wildcat run on the night after he singled with one out and was driven in by second baseman Smith’s two out hit. It tied the game and seemed to give the Cats some confidence. They would take a 2-1 lead in the next inning when Cody Crow singled then stole a base and was driven in by Goolsby’s RBI single. The Wildcats would continue the pattern in to the sixth and finally finish the Herons off.
Senior Matt Graney who had relieved back in the third inning was keeping Brantley County off balance since then and would be rewarded with the win, Thrash would pitch a scoreless seventh for the save.
In that sixth inning the Wildcats finally chased the heron starter with the big blow being an RBI triple by Cody Rushing and a two RBI single by Tyler Mitchell. On the night the Wildcats finished with 10 hits and their pitchers gave up only three. Crow finished 3-4, one run, Johnson 3-3, one run, Smith 2-3, one run, one RBI.