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Lady Mustangs fend off Lady Wildcats, set to face them again
Whitney Thompson
Lady Mustangs third baseman Whitney Thompson (right) fields a bunt and throws out Richmond Hill’s Kayla Ragins in the sixth inning Thursday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON — During the first five innings at The Corral on Thursday, hits were harder to come by the truth at a presidential debate.

The home team’s bats eventually got going, however, and South Effingham stopped Richmond Hill 6-1 to finish the regular season with its 20th win. The Lady Mustangs are 20-2-1 overall and 11-1 in Region 2-AAAAAA.

“I’m just glad that we stuck to it, that we didn’t give up and we kept pushing because that’s the biggest thing,” Lady Mustangs head coach Jessica Evans said. 

Bailey Kendziorski held the Lady Wildcats hitless for 4 1/3 innings. She went on to allow a couple more hits but walked none and struck out 12.

Kendziorski finally got a lead to work with in the fifth inning. Richmond Hill committed endured two defensive lapses during the frame, eventually allowing Kaley Stone to score an unearned run without the benefit of a hit.

“Sometimes teams get down like this and they don’t really find that way to push back,” Evans said. “They made a couple errors but we did get a couple good strokes and got the ball in play, and that’s the biggest thing. That’s what we preach to them — get the ball in play and it will handle itself. It’ll weed itself out in time, and it did.

“I’m glad they didn’t give up because they could have. It was five innings of just ‘ugh,’ your know?”

South Effingham, which struggled to advance runners in the first five frames, socked six of its nine hits in its final at-bat. It got singles from Avery Roddenberry, Mattie Turner, Chloe Turner and Stone, and doubles from Kendziorski and Alex Brown to score five runs. Stone and Kendziorski each collected two RBI with their hits during the rally.

“In a game like this, you can’t say a lot of great things other than that you didn’t give up,” Evans said. “I’ll be honest, though. We finished the (regular) season 20-2-1. I fuss at them over wins and how we get them where there are a lot of coaches who are fussing because of losses.

“As a coach, you just have to feel blessed. If you stay on (the players) and try to hold them accountable even in a win, that’s a good thing.”

The Lady Mustangs faced Richmond Hill again Tuesday in the opening round of the double-elimination Region 2-AAAAAA tournament. Results of that game were not available at press time.

“I hope we come out ready to play,” Evans said following Thursday’s win. “I think we will see a different group.”

Evans said she knows the Lady Wildcats aren’t scared of her team.

“I feel like they think they can compete with us,” she said. “I think Bailey Kendziorski is a great pitcher and they are going to have a hard time with her just like any team unless they have, like deep in the playoffs, a stud amount of hitters that can go with the ball and be patient.

“Bailey isn’t going to give anybody anything. She’s going to pitch strikes and keep them guessing.”