By Mike Brown, sports correspondent.
The spring sports season, despite some recent bad weather, has kicked off full blast but basketball is still hogging the spotlight with the GHSA state tournament getting under way this week. But nudging in for a tiny share of that spotlight is Richmond Hill’s newest varsity sport: lacrosse.
Coach Tom Corbin’s team is on the road this weekend as it plays at Lakeside Evans on Friday and at Greenbrier on Saturday. In their second season at the varsity level after playing as a club team for three years the Wildcats are off to a 2-1 start.
Corbin said he is uncertain at this stage of the season about how good his team may be but he does have some good athletes who are experienced at the sport despite its relative newness.
Richmond Hill beat Bluffton, 21-0, in its opener and then knocked off first-year program Calvary Day School, 19-1, before losing to Providence of Jacksonville, Fl., 13-5, last Saturday in game played at Benedictine due to field conditions.
“We started as a club sport in 2016 before joining GHSA last year,” Corbin said. “I’ve been coaching here since the sports inception.”
Benedictine was the first school in the area to play lacrosse as a GHSA member followed by Richmond Hill. In addition to Calvary other schools now playing are Savannah Country Day, Savannah Christian, South Effingham and Effingham County.
“We’re fortunate in that we’ve now got a large group of teams in our area,” Corbin said. “Our program is growing now to the point that we may have to start cutting kids.
We’ve got 64 on our roster and we’re running out of room with our facilities.”
The Wildcats have four players in particular who bear watching in senior Tommy DiMarzio, junior Hayden McCullough, senior Jacob Welch and junior Caleb Christiansen. DiMarzio is in his fifth season with the Wildcats. He played as an eighth-grader prior to the late Patrick Welch starting a program at the middle school.
McCullough is a transfer student from New Jersey and has been playing lacrosse since he was six years old. Corbin said Christiansen is an offensive specialist who plays attack and is a strong scoring threat while Welch is probably the team’s smartest defender.
The Wildcats’ next home game will be March 11 when they take on Effingham County. Meanwhile, the Wildcats basketball team will be playing at home at 5:30 p.m. Friday against North Atlanta (20-3) in a second- round playoff game.
Richmond Hill (20-3) shrugged off a slow start and posted a 76-58 win over visiting Rockdale County Tuesday night in the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs. The Wildcats got 22 points each from Jaeden Marshall and Leighton Finley along with 18 by Liam Markgraf, to break the game open in the second half. Richmond Hill’s girls (17-6) were on the road Wednesday as they played at Grovetown (10-8).
Should the Wildcats win they will take on the winner of the DeKalb Lakeside (10-9) vs. Lee County (10-10) game. A Richmond Hill-Lakeside game would be played at Richmond Hill on Saturday. A Lee County win would keep the Wildcats on the road.
Bryan County baseball under second-year coach Dustin Covington is 2-1 after blanking Liberty County, 6-0, on Tuesday.
The Redskins’ first two games were slugfests, losing at Tattnall County, 11-10, and rebounding to beat Bradwell Institute, 10-9.
The Redskins have a doubleheader at home on Saturday as they take on Liberty County at 10 a.m. and Towns County at 2 p.m. They will then be idle until a March 4 game at Savannah Country Day. Richmond Hill baseball is 3-2 going into a 6:30 p.m. Friday home game with Benedictine and on Saturday the Wildcats will face visiting North Oconee at 4 p.m.
The Wildcats dropped an 8-6 decision at Benedictine in their second game of the season but have won their last two, beating Wayne and Ware counties.