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Wildcats find themselves in pennant race; Redskins falter
Luke Boone
Richmond Hill High School’s Luke Boone at bat. Photo by Mike Brown.

A 7-5 loss to Camden County on Tuesday night withstanding, the Richmond Hill baseball team finds itself in a pennant race. The Wildcats were all but given up for dead when they started Region 2-6A play 2-4 in dropping series to Brunswick and Glynn Academy. Coach Scott Stricklin’s team got a jump start when it pulled out a 7-4 win in the third game of its series with Glynn.

That was the first of seven straight region wins to get the Wildcats in the thick of things in Region 2-6A.

The Wildcats (11-11, 8-4) now trail tri-leaders Glynn, South Effingham and Statesboro by one game in the loss column.

They were all 7-3 going into Wednesday games.

The loss to Camden was a non-region affair and while the loss snapped a seven-game winning streak it had no impact on the region standings. “We’ve been hitting the ball good,” Stricklin said of his team’s rebound from a 4-10 start. “We’re bashing it all over the place. “Everyone’s starting to get comfortable,” Stricklin said. “We’ve had a bunch of guys who have stepped up.” After playing at Camden on Friday the Wildcats will determine their fate in the next two weeks beginning Monday when they play at Statesboro in the opener of a three-game series. On Wednesday the two teams will be at Richmond Hill and close out the week on Friday at Statesboro. Then comes a season- ending series with the Mustangs with the Monday-Friday games at Richmond Hill and the Wednesday game at South Effingham. “The region is wide open,” Strickland said.

“We’ve just got to go out and play. “We’ve got to continue to play better and keep getting better each game.

That’s got to be our mindset.”

With so many scenarios still in play there is only one certainty for the Wildcats: win out and they’ll be guaranteed of no worse than a second-place finish. Should that occur they would play their opening series in the GHSA Class 6A state playoffs at home.

In the loss to Camden the Wildcats gave up four runs in the fourth and trailed 7-2 going into the bottom of the seventh before scoring three times.

With a chance to tie they had runners on second and third but couldn’t get them home.

“We played really good,” Stricklin said, “but there were some weird things that happened. We had some base-running mistakes, missed a cutoff man, made some errors (3) that hurt.

“I thought Leighton (Finley) pitched well. You can bend but you can’t break and we broke some that (fourth) inning.”

Finley took the loss as he dropped to 2-2 on the season. Evan Cowan and Payton Taylor had two hits each with Cowan driving in two runs.

In their last eight games the Wildcats, as Stricklin noted, have been playing well. They have hit .327 as a team while compiling a 1.90 ERA and an outstanding WHIP of 0.8542.

Richmond Hill is hitting .243 for all games with a 2.38 ERA.

Luke Boone has hit a red-hot .611 during that stretch to up his batting average to .293. Boone has five doubles and three homers with seven RBI to spark the offense and the Cowan brothers, Mitch and Evan, have hit .333 each.

Boone also pitched a two-hitter against Bradwell for his first win after three losses. Hunter Legas is 5-2 while Finley has a 1.96 ERA and 0.8400 WHIP.

He has struck out 37 in 25 innings while walking only two. The Georgia commit has hiked his batting average to .286.

Evan Cowan leads the Wildcats in hitting at .339 and RBI with 14. Mitch, who has signed with Andrew College in Cuthbert, Ga., is now hitting .288.

While the Wildcats are geared up for a strong finish the Bryan County Redskins have gone into an offensive funk.

Metter got a 4-0 win Tuesday night that extended the Redskins’ scoreless skein to 25 straight innings. Adding insult to injury the game saw the end of a 21-game hitting streak by sophomore centerfielder Konner Leggett who was hitting .515 going into the game.

Jacob Hughes pitched well for Bryan County as he struck out six but Metter came up with three runs in the fifth to put the game on ice. Hughes had two of his team’s four hits with the Sittons, Zach and Brandon, each singling.

Leighton Finley on the mound
Leighton Finley on the mound. Photo by Mike Brown.

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