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South Effingham cruises past mistake prone Lady Cats
Richmond Hill firstbaseman Lauren Davis sets for a play Thursday evening at South Effingham. The Lady Cats got beat by the 2006 region champs 7-1.
With one of the top pitchers and best teams in the state throwing against them, head coach Jodi Reagan knew her team would need to be at their best in order to keep it close. Instead, she saw her young team make error after error that led to South Effingham Alison Kirkland’s 7-1 win for the Lady Mustangs.
It was the 3-AAA opener for both teams.The Wildcats fell to 5-4, 0-1 while the Lady Mustangs improved to 2-6, 1-0.
Reagan would say afterward that her team was “mentally unprepared” and that it wasn’t their best pitching performance either.
Richmond Hill’s Stefanie Ortiz got the start and actually only gave up four hits in six innings of work. It was her seven walks and a porous defense that turned her otherwise solid performance sour - and it started in the first inning.
After walking the first two batters, it looked like Ortiz might escape the trouble she had started. The lead-off batter was erased when she was caught stealing at second base by a strong throw from the Lady Cats catcher, Caitlyn Casey. Then an over throw to first on a ground ball to shortstop Melanie Goolsby turned in to a two base error. A single by South Effingham’s clean up hitter Joni Lynn plated the first run of the game then back to back errors by third baseman Erin Hefner scored two more.
While the left side of the Lady Cats infield had a bad night, you have to give the Lady Mustangs some of the credit for putting the ball in play a lot - they struck out only once, and actually it was some good defensive plays that kept the score from being even worse than it was. Meanwhile, Richmond Hill was struggling to do the same.
Kirkland wound up striking out 15 in the complete game start while walking only one. She gave up four hits and the one run Richmond Hill scored was un-earned. After that rough first inning Ortiz settled in to a groove herself.
The next two innings South Effingham was held scoreless as Ortiz and her defense made six put outs with only one hit and one walk sandwiched between them. Then, in the fourth inning, Ortiz walked the first three batters and this time four runs scored aided by an error, a sacrifice fly and a base hit.
Richmond Hill’s offense finally showed some life in the sixth inning and at least stole away the shut out opportunity for the Lady Mustangs.
Sophomore outfielder Tyler Carlson led off with a bunt single that rolled just far enough away from the Mustang catcher to make it a difficult play for Kirkland. Goolsby followed with a major league fly ball on the infield that fell between Kirkland and her third baseman. Unfortunately, they were still able to get the force out at second. Alex Hefner followed with a base hit fly ball that dropped behind third base, the left fielder tried to throw behind her at first base and the errant throw got past the first baseman while Goolsby rounded the bases.
Freshman Jena Reddick came on to relieve and pitched a scoreless sixth and got the only strikeout of the night. The Lady Cats Erin Hefner started the seventh with a single and advanced on a wild pitch but Kirkland rallied by striking out the side for the third time. 
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