GUYTON, GA -- While nearly everyone was conceding first and second place in the Region 2-6A race to South Effingham and Effingham County first-year Richmond Hill coach Chris Jenkins wasn’t one of them.
“With Katie (Rearley) pitching I’m willing to take my chances with them,” Jenkins said a few days after his team had dropped an 11-2 decision to the Mustangs. “I like the way we’re playing.”
Richmond Hill justified its coach’s confidence Tuesday in the opening round of the region tournament and did it in a big way.
The Lady Cats guaranteed themselves a berth in the GHSA Class 6A state tournament with a 10- 2 win over Statesboro in the opening game of the region tournament.
They then assured themselves of hosting at least a first-round series with a stunning 6-2 win over South Effingham and all-state pitcher Bailey Kendziorski.
That set up a region championship game 2 p.m. Wednesday against Effingham County at South Effingham which is hosting the tournament.
With the top five finishers qualifying for the tournament the format called for fourth-place Richmond Hill to play fifth-place Statesboro with the winner taking on the regular season champion South Effingham.
In a noon game Lady Cats pitchers Allie Washington and Rearley combined on a five-hitter to lead them to a 10-2 win over the Blue Devils.
Led by junior catcher Kamdyn Richbourg’s three hits the Lady Cats pounded out 12 hits.
Daisy Avery, Washington and Aliya Williams all had two each with Williams driving in three runs and Richbourg two.
Four hours later they completed the day’s sweep with the win over the Mustangs behind a dazzling performance by Rearley and a 14-hit attack against all-state pitcher Bailey Kendziorski.
“This was a team win,” said Jenkins of the win over South Effingham. “Offensively every player in the lineup either reached base or advanced runners at some point in the game. Our approach at the plate was much better. Katie was outstanding in the circle once again. If we play solid defense behind her like we did today she’s going to give us a chance to win every time out.”
The game with the Mustangs was tied 1-1 after three innings before Richmond Hill scored three times in the third inning and added two in the fourth.
That was all Rearley needed as she scattered seven hits while striking out seven.
She did not walk anyone.
Avery Fisher had a three-run homer in the third and while Washington had a solo shot in the first.
Washington and Avery had run-scoring singles in fourth.
Avery, Washington, Fisher and Kayla Ragins had three hits each while Williams and Richbourg each singled.
In two games this season Kendziorski had given up 12 hits to the Lady Cats.