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Wildcats peaking in time for state baseball tourney

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POSTED: May 12, 2007 5:02 a.m.

Richmond Hill will play on Tuesday May 1 in their first post season play since the current crop of seniors on the team were freshmen.

If the Wildcats finish second in the region they will host a game, most likely against Washington County, on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Wildcat Field.

If they finish as the 3S-AAA sub-region champions, which would happen with a Wildcat win at Hephzibah and a South Effingham loss at Liberty County, they will travel to either Harlem or Thompson on Tuesday to determine their seating in the state tournament.

Now at 17-6 overall the Wildcats have won 10 of their last 11 games and have outscored their opponents in that stretch 110-46. This past Monday against Jenkins the Wildcats continued in that vein.

Saving their senior tandem pitching for the playoffs head coach Mitchell Curry decided to start the game with junior hurler Alex Tucker. Tucker did not disappoint.

In six complete innings he gave up only one earned run on three hits, struck out three and walked only one, while improving his record to 2-1.

The Wildcats scored in every inning except the first, pounding out 15 hits in the process. John Johnson has had the hottest bat of late and went 4-5, with 2 doubles and 7 RBI’s on the day. Matt Schlag was 2-4, with 2 RBI’s, Aaron Pittsley went 2-4 with an RBI, Jeremy Goolsby had a double and an RBI and Josh Futch went 2-3 with an RBI. But the biggest hit of the day came on the last at bat of the game.

Nathan Kilburn hit a ground rule double with the bases loaded to drive in two runs and end the game in the sixth inning and end a mini-slump the Richmond Hill junior has been in during the past few weeks. He would prove that again on Wednesday at Groves.

Kilburn’s grand slam homer in the first inning ignited another Wildcat romp as Richmond Hill tallied another lopsided victory 14-3 over the Rebels in five innings.

The big first inning would make a winner of junior pitcher Jeremy Goolsby for his second win in as many starts. It was another chance for the Wildcats to have a look at the pitching they will bring back next year. If these last two games are any indication there won’t be much of a drop-off.

Goolsby worked 2 2/3 innings while striking out three, Junior Matt Graney worked 1 1/3 with one strike out and junior Raul Rodriguez finished the day with two strike outs in the final inning. It was more than enough of a group effort to allow the bats to do the rest.

The first inning explosion of eight runs was sandwiched around Kilburn’s blast when Scott Strickland drove in a pair with a single and John Johnson closed out the big inning with a single and two RBI’s of his own.

Johnson finished the game 3-4, 2B and three more RBI’s, Kilburn added a double to go along with his home run and third baseman Matt Schlag continued his good work with a 3-4 day, a 2B and an RBI. Even when Curry started emptying his bench late in the game they continued to hit.

Matt Graney had a fifth inning double and RBI, Cody Rushing, in to catch, stroked a single and an RBI, and Logan Wolfe came off the bench with a pinch hit single.

Unofficially, the Wildcats as a team are batting for an average of over .350. No regular player is batting under .300 and there are three players over .400 for the season, and several chasing that mark.

It has been an incredible run of offense for the Cats and is being backed up by solid defense and a deep pitching staff.

This is a team of few superstars but no weak spots in the line up and for Curry, his team and what lies ahead in post season play, they wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

 

 

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