With a young squad to start with, head coach Jodi Reagan really needs two pitchers she can count on to anchor and solidify her team's inexperience. On Tuesday in Richmond Hill that second pitcher, Hillary Roberts, may have turned a corner with a 10-0 five inning shut out against Brunswick.
"She did really well, we have been working with her on her composure - her mental state - when maybe she has a bad inning or is struggling a bit" said coach Reagan on her number two.
Junior Stefanie Ortiz has pitched the lion's share of the innings during the Lady Cats 5-2 start and will probably continue in that number one role, but with a tournament in Brunswick today, and region games starting next week, the Lady Cats will need all the quality pitching they can get.
Richmond Hill will play their first 3-AAA game at region champion South Effingham on Thursday, Sept. 6 for a 6 p.m. start.
After starting the game with a walk, Roberts struck out the side for her first scoreless inning but, as her offensive teammates went to bat in the bottom half of the inning, they would give her more support than she would need.
Shortstop Melanie Goolsby led off with a bloop single and was followed by Jena Reddick’s double to the fence to plate Goolsby. Two outs later, Erin Hefner’s single drove Reddick home and made it 2-0 in favor of Richmond Hill.
Roberts would manage to coax eight ground outs and two fly balls the rest of the way while only giving up two hits. Her ability to keep the ball down and in the strike zone led to her teammates' defensive superiority.
In the third inning, first baseman Lauren Davis dug out two low throws from the infielders to save put outs. The Lady Cat defense finished the game without committing an error, and their two-out hitting would finish off any chance the Lady Pirates were entertaining of getting back in the game.
In the second inning, a two out rally was fueled by the freshman Reddick’s second double of the game, then another freshman, Caitlyn Casey, drove a run in and yet another freshman Lauren Davis drove in two with her clutch single.
With four freshman regularly getting starts and three of them batting near the top of the order, Richmond Hill looks to be strong for several years to come. Whether that young line up can hold up to the pressure of hitting and playing against region teams remains to be seen.
The bats would be somewhat quiet until two were out again in the fifth inning.
The right fielder, Ortiz, walked to start things. Second baseman Krista Busbee reached base after the Lady Pirates second baseman could not convert her ground ball to an out at second base.
The error set the stage for Melanie Goolsby’s RBI single then an error later Lauren Davis ended it with her game-winning RBI.