A sterling pitching performance from Bryce Hendricks and clutch hitting from Ty Goldrick and Grant Wagner helped propel Richmond Hill into the second round of the GHSA Class 7A state baseball playoffs last Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Campbell.
The Wildcats won the opener, 6-5, thanks to a 3-for-3 day at the plate for the hot-hitting Goldrick, including a three-run double and another strong relief job by Blayne Newman.
In the nightcap, Richmond Hill broke through for three runs in the top of the seventh thanks to a two-run single by Wagner and Hendricks never gave in to the pressure as he spun a complete game four-hitter.
The Wildcats will face state juggernaut Parkview (26-5) this Friday at Parkview. The Panthers are ranked No. 1 and have won three of the last four state championship
Parkview is led by shortstop Colin Houck who is the state’s top-ranked prospect for this summer’s major league draft. Houck is hitting .516 and while committed to Mississippi State he is projected to be among the top 10 players drafted.
Goldrick was hitting .205 at mid-season but has since gone on a .525 tear to raise his batting average to a team high .389 and he got what may have been his biggest hit of the season in the fourth inning when he laced a 1-1 pitch down the left field line to spark a four-run rally.
The Wildcats trailed 3-2 against Georgia signee Ryan Gold but they got to the lefthander in a big way, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring all of their runs before an out was made.
Mason Wilcox, who had an outstanding day defensively as he made several nice catches in centerfield, accounted for the first run of the inning when he laid down a bases-loaded bunt which he beat out.
That brought Goldrick to the plate with the game tied at 3-3 and he wasted no time in giving the Wildcats and senior lefthander Garrett Wright the lead. Having singled to center his first two times up the Erskine football signee turned on a fast ball and drove it down the line to put his team in front for good.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” said Goldrick whose hot streak coincided with his being moved to second in the lineup. “I’m just swinging the bat and hitting the ball. That’s about all there is to know.
“I’m seeing the ball really well and feel super confident when I step in the box,” Goldrick said. “Ever since he (Coach Hill Thomas) moved me up I’ve been hitting really well. It’s working for the lineup, it’s working for me, it’s working for the team. I just want to keep going with it.”
Wright wasn’t overly sharp – he threw 94 pitches over five innings including 42 in the first two – but he was able to get outs when he needed them.
Newman came on in the sixth to close the door as he made his eighth straight relief appearance without giving up a run. In that 12 inning span he has given up only one hit while striking out 28.
The nightcap was a pitcher’s duel with neither Hendricks, a 6-2, 160-pound junior lefthander, or Campbell’s 6-8 Alex Karst, blinking.
Karst, who has signed with Kennesaw State, tired in the seventh, however, and the Wildcats took advantage of it.
With one out Gavin Martin was hit by a pitch, Wilcox singled and Goldrick drew a walk to load the bases.
With the hole between second and first looking like a four-lane highway Wagner went to right on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Boomer Dunn to score two runs. After Newman walked Hunter Legas laid down a perfect bunt to score Goldrick.
Hendricks took care of it from there. He gave up a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh but got the next two batters on routine plays to end it. “Everything about it was amazing,” Hendricks said. “It was a battle and I loved it.
“The pressure built, like in the seventh you go out there knowing if you let them get the best of you the moment you thought you had it it could slip away just like that,” said Hendricks who was Richmond Hill’s second-leading scorer in basketball. “My curveball was working for me. I got everybody off that.”