Richmond Hill High School’s baseball team solidified its Region 2A-AAAA No. 1 slot Friday by shutting out the Liberty County Panthers, 14-0, in five innings on LCHS’ turf.
The Wildcats put up six runs in the first inning to set the pace, and starting Wildcat pitcher Brian Strahan kept the Panther batters at bay to earn a win on the mound. Panther Antonio Smith started the game, pitching four innings and taking a loss. Kevin Chiu finished the game.
By the second inning, the Wildcats were up 7-0. Both sides’ defense ran smoothly in the third inning, but the Wildcats went back to work in the top of the fourth.
After adding four runs, Richmond Hill kept the Panthers from scoring.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Wildcats sealed the 10-run mercy-rule win by adding three more runs for a 14-0 shutout.
The Wildcats are 9-7 overall and 6-1 in the region, holding first place, according to ga.prepcountry.com
The Panther boys fell to 2-11 overall and 0-6 in the region.
Just before the game, the squad honored former Panther baseball player Joe Watkins. Players, fans and supporters gathered as the Panthers’ new pitching backstop was dedicated in memory of the former LCHS pitcher, who died from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle accident in November. Watkins’ mother, Jan Williams, accepted a rose from coach Joel Moody, and Watkins’ father, Pat Watkins, threw out the first pitch of the game. Both received gifts from the baseball team.
Moody said he knew this year’s season would be difficult with only three seniors on the squad. It is a rebuilding season, and the sophomore-heavy Panthers show potential, the coach said.
To avoid frustrating his team, Moody said he plans to help players brush off Friday’s loss and prepare for another region test Tuesday at Brunswick.
Richmond Hill: Ryan Esenwein 2-4, 2B, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Peyton Carter 2-2, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Cody Taylor 2-3, 2 RBIs; Jonah Reyes 2-3, 3 runs
Liberty County: Antonio Smith 1-2
Other LCHS Panther news
The Panther soccer squads suffered back-to-back losses last week. On March 27, the boys lost to Ware County, 2-1, and the girls fell, 4-0.
On Thursday, the boys lost to Wayne County, 7-0, and the girls lost, 8-0. The Panther boys are 2-7-1 overall and 2-6 in the region. The Lady Panthers are 2-8-1 overall and 2-7 in the region.