When asked during the pre-season head coach Mitchell Curry stated his team only needed to beat the teams they were supposed to and their goal of returning to the state tournament could be realized. They have done just that and more. Hephzibah was their final conquest on Friday 14-4 allowing Richmond Hill to run their regular season record to 18-6, 8-2 in region 3S-AAA.
During their incredible run the Wildcats have beat the teams they were supposed to and also beat Swainsboro, South Effingham, Savannah Christian, Jenkins, Bryan County and Benedictine twice. All good baseball teams, with post season aspirations. They have shown that, not only have they made it to the next level of play; they belong there.
As second place finishers via a tie breaker with South Effingham in the sub-region they will need to take care of business this week; Tuesday at home against Washington County, a win would earn them at least a four seed in the state tournament. Then on Thursday they would play against the winner of the Benedictine/Thompson game to try and improve their seed to third at state. If it is Benedictine they will play another game at home, if it is Thompson they will travel on Thursday.
Against Hephzibah they continued their late season domination with Cameron Corbin working four strong innings and sneakily picking up his fifth win against no regular season losses to lead the staff in that category. The Richmond Hill senior combined with Scott Strickland, and Matt Schlag for what is arguably one of the best pitching staff’s in the area.
The Richmond Hill trio went 14-3, with 108 strikeouts and a combined ERA under 3.0 runs per game. There has not been a clearly dominant pitcher on the staff this season and there hasn’t been a need for one. If one falters, the next guy in the rotation comes on strong. They have pitched the way they have hit all season, by committee.
On Friday it was Josh Futch leading at the plate, the Richmond Hill senior finished the regular season with a flurry by hitting his team leading fifth home run coupled with 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s. He was joined by: Matt Schlag 2-4, 2B, RBI - Jeremy Goolsby 2-3 2 2B’s, 3 RBI’s -
John Johnson 2-5, 2B - Aaron Pittsley 1-4, 3 RBI’s and Raul Rodriguez came off the bench late for his first home run in a Wildcat uniform to make the domination complete.
This Wildcat team has been a hitting machine of late, their 15 hit attack at Hephzibah was the third game in a row they have had more than ten hits and for the season they are averaging nearly ten hits a game. Their lineup is stacked with players hitting over or near a .400 batting average, with double digits in runs drove in, and over.500 in on base percentage, and slugging percentage.
If there was one common denominator about the Wildcat offense it would have to be that they don’t miss many mistakes when they are thrown, and they don’t fail to take advantage of them when they are presented.
In spite of five Wildcat errors against Hephzibah, more than Curry likes to see on a given day, Richmond Hill rang up a big eight run third inning while Corbin was limiting Hephzibah to just two runs. The big inning has been the Wildcats forte this season and made the difference in their final game. Matt Schlag then took over and dominated the final two innings not allowing a hit and striking out five to preserve the win.
Regardless of what happens this week and beyond, Wildcat faithful will be able to look back on this season and remember one of the best to ever be played at Richmond Hill. They may not remember them by name, for there haven’t been big name players this year, as in past years, but they will remember that team.