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Richmond Hill edges Effingham, 13-12
ec tagged out by rh
Richmond Hill catcher Cody Rushing tags out Effingham’s Justin Knight at the plate in the third inning. Richmond Hill left fielder Alex Tucker rifled the ball to catch Knight sprinting from second base. - photo by Jimmy Currier


Jonathan Sharpe has an RBI

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Justin Knight pitching for Effingham

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In winning a double elimination tournament, Plan A is to win the first game. Plan B is to have a short memory.

Effingham County will go with Plan B after losing 13-12 to Richmond Hill in the opening game of the Georgia Parks and Recreation Senior Boys state baseball tournament on Tuesday.

Richmond Hill scored the winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning — the game had reached its two-hour time limit — off Cody Rushing’s sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Jacob Thrash.

With one out, Thrash walked and later advanced to third after Effingham’s catcher threw to second base to catch Thrash stealing, only to discover no one was covering the bag.

Then, EC coach Ray Griffin elected to put the next two batters, Jeremy Goolsby, who already had a double, and Raul Rodriquez on base to play for a force out double play.

That’s when Rushing took Cody Ward’s pitch to right field to end the game.

With the loss, Effingham plays the loser of Metter and Warner Robins at 10:30 a.m. today.
Richmond Hill plays the winner of Metter and Warner Robins at 3 p.m. today. All games are at Effingham County High School.

“That was a tough one,” Griffin said. “The heat got us a little bit. It drained us and we got sluggish. Walks and errors did us in. Playing a team like Richmond Hill, you can’t do that."

Effingham pitchers Ward and Justin Knight walked a combined 13 batters on a day where the mercury crept near 100.

Effingham seemed to put the game out of reach early, taking a 10-3 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
They scored five runs in the inning, sparked by Jared Slater’s lead-off single to left and fueled by Larry Cobb’s two-run double to center field.

That’s when Richmond Hill’s coach Sean Strickland said he gathered up his team and had a talk.

“I made it short and sweet and told them that this team is not as good as you all and I left it at that,” he said. “I let my seniors handle it. It’s up to the guys on the field.”

It worked as Richmond Hill scored nine. Alex Tucker led the inning off with a single. Next, with the bases loaded, Jeremy Goolsby smacked a two-run double to center field, followed by Rodriquez — who earned the win on the mound — RBI single to right.

Kevin Wilson tied the game with a seeing-eye double to right field that was just out of the reach of the stretching second baseman.

Effingham tied the game 12-12 in the fifth inning when Jacob Daughtry scored off  a wild pitch.