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Richmond Hill in state softball tournament

Richmond Hill softball coach Chris Jenkins was realistic about his team’s chances going into the GHSA Class 7A state playoffs.

Playing as a No. 4 seed in a Super Regional at Brookwood the Wildcats coach knew his team would be a big underdog and advancing was unlikely. However, he wanted his team, which had only five seniors, to show up and compete, hopefully getting a win or two on which to build.

 What Jenkins anticipated and hoped for happened:  the Wildcats got bounced but in between its first and third games in the double elimination event it got a confidence building win and freshman Aubrey Ragins showed she is going to be a player to contend with the next three years.

 Brookwood, the No. 1 seed and eventual winner of the regional which made up the first two rounds of the state tournament, advanced as expected but the Broncos did get a scare from the Wildcats before prevailing, 15-7.

 Richmond Hill led 6-4 going into the bottom of the fourth inning having jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead but it wasn’t enough. The Broncos took control of the game with a five-run outburst in the fourth inning, added four in the fifth and two in the sixth put it out of reach.

 The Wildcats (9-15) showed their mettle as they bounced back to beat Campbell, 12-8, behind a barrage of extra base hits. Kylen Tucker-Flynn had a three-run homer in the first inning, Ragins added a triple and two doubles and Lily Welch had a pair of doubles.

 Campbell led 8-6 after four innings but the Wildcats took the lead for good with a three-run outburst in the fifth, got a run in the sixth and closed it out with a pair of runs in the seventh to earn the win for sophomore Adriana Williams.

 Ragins had an RBI double in the fifth to get the Wildcats to within one run, and Welch followed with a two-run double to make it a 9-8 game and it was all Richmond Hill from that point.

 Richmond Hill could not carry that momentum over into the third game. Although it got two quick runs in the top of the first Harrison answered with four runs in its half of the inning, added a run in the second and put it away with five more in the third as it coasted to a 13-5 win.

 Ragins had another big game at the plate, however, as the first-year third baseman drove in two runs with a double and home run. Richmond Hill had 10 hits but the Wildcats uncharacteristically committed five errors behind Bria Milledge.

 Brookwood entered the tournament ranked No. 10 in the state and Harrison was No. 9 and they were among six ranked teams Richmond Hill faced on the season. Lowndes, which won Region 1-7A, is ranked eighth while South Effingham and Effingham County entered state tournament play ranked sixth and 10th, respectively in Class 6A. Bryan County was also ranked in the top 10 in Class A-D1 when they met in regular season play.

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