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Softball: Raiders blank Redskins in surprising 1-0 pitching duel

Bryan County coach Jason Roundtree had trouble believing it but it was there in front of him in black-and-white.

Savannah Christian had not only beaten the Redskins in their season opener but it had won on a shutout.

In a pitchers’ duel, the Raiders pushed across a run in the fourth inning to post a 1-0 win over a Bryan County team which is looking to make a deep run in the state playoffs.

Richmond Hill, which surprised a lot of people last season by reaching the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, opened its season on a sour note in dropping a 5-3 decision to Pierce County followed by an 8-0 loss to Apalachee.

The Wildcats and Bryan County will square off against one another at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Richmond Hill in the first of two meetings. The teams will play one another again on Aug. 22 at Bryan County.

Bryan County and the Raiders were scheduled for a rematch Wednesday in the first game to be played at the Redskins’ showplace field which contractors were working feverishly this week to get ready in time for it to be playable.

“It shocked me,” Roundtree said of being shutout. “I would never have thought we would have been shut out by anyone.”

Hayden Joyner allowed only four hits — two of them coming when the first two batters of the game singled — and she was matched pitch-forpitch by the Raiders’ Jillian Austin who, like Joyner, struck out six while giving up three hits.

“She pitched a heckuva game,” Roundtree said. “We got jammed a lot. A lot of our older girls didn’t hit the ball well. We were definitely not at our peak.

“Defensively and pitching, we looked good. We’ve struggled defensively in past years, but we’ve worked hard on it. We’ve stressed getting better defensively.”

The Redskins did not commit an error in the field but it was a passed ball and wild pitch that led to Savannah Christian’s lone run.

Chaynie Cornwell singled to lead off the fourth for the Raiders, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored with one out when Joyner’s low pitch hit the dirt and catcher Skylar Lee couldn’t handle it. Bryan County left eight runners on base as it also drew four walks and had a batter reach on a Raiders error. The Redskins had runners in scoring position in the first, second and fourth innings but could not come up with the timely hit they needed.

Joyner gave Bryan County its best scoring opportunity when she led off the fourth with a double—Bekah Johnson and Lee had the other hits— and took third when Lee grounded out. However, she was left stranded.

In the sixth, Joyner was robbed of a sure-fire double, possible triple, when she hit a scorching fly ball to left center leading off, only to see leftfielder Leighton Stallcup make a highlight-film running, diving catch for the put out.

That play was made more important when Lee followed with a single which could have tied the game. Austin retired the next five batters to clinch the win.

Wildcats in Brunswick

Richmond Hill, meanwhile was to face Glynn Academy on the road on Wednesday before playing its home opener against the Redskins.

Richmond Hill could not overcome two big innings in losing to Pierce County and Apalachee.

The Bears struck for four runs in the second inning and although the Wildcats answered with three in their half that was the extent of their offensive efforts as they were limited to two hits in the four-inning affair.

Aliya Williams and Abby Laidler had run-scoring doubles while Taylor Gilbert had an RBI on a fielder’s choice.

The Wildcats’ hitting woes continued in the second game when they failed to get a hit against Ryleigh Sapp, who struck out 13 while walking one.

Apalachee scored twice in the second inning and then put the game out of reach with a six-run outburst in the third inning.

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