The Richmond Hill High School baseball team has been very busy as of late. Their summer schedule has them playing four games each weekend throughout the month of June.
The summer team first hit the field in late May, and summer head coach Sean Strickland said the varsity team is looking strong. He said the junior varsity team has not been as successful but has shown a lot of improvement, including victories over Statesboro this past weekend.
Strickland said 35 players have turned out for summer play, which is "by far the most participants we’ve ever had for summer baseball." The entire varsity roster, with the exception of Cody Crowe who is nursing an elbow injury, has signed up for the summer team.
The team just lost six strong senior players to graduation: Jeremey Goolsby, Matt Graney, Raul Rodriguez, Alex Tucker, Logan Wolf and Ben Auger. Strickland said many of them have lended their expertise at one time or another to this new team, which he said has helped tremendously.
There are eight seniors on the current team: Darius Lofton, John Johnson, Jacob Thrash, John Phifer, Tyler Mitchell, Kevin Wilson, Ryan Dickey and Taylor Smith.
"All of the rising seniors have stepped up to fill leadership roles," Strickland said. "The entire varsity team has shown excellent competitive skills thus far. Pitching has proved to be our weak spot, but it’s getting better."
Strickland said the leading pitcher is Jacob Thrash who "recently developed a submarine delivery that has a lot of heads turning."
Some recent standouts plays include Phifer hitting a home run off the scoreboard in Thomasville, and Lofton and Tyler each making some diving grabs in the outfield that Strickland called "ESPN type plays."
Strickland said a solid foundation is being set for next season, and the Wildcats should have a successful year if they continue at their current pace.
Assisting Strickland with coaching duties this summer are Chris Willis, Alex Gray and his brothers Scott and Seth Strickland. The team has one more weekend of games, this weekend in Lowndes County, before taking a break. They pick back up in July for the GRPA tournament.