07/18/08 — Richards effectively uses curveball, fastball

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Richards effectively uses curveball, fastball

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 18, 2008 1:36 PM

DUDLEY -- Trae McKee couldn't have asked for a more complete effort.

Wayne County South pounded out 15 hits, played sound defense and got solid pitching from three different arms in a 10-0 rout of D.H. Conley in six innings in a Region 2 Junior American Legion playoff game on Thursday night.

With the victory, Wayne County South earned a berth in this weekend's regional at Cary.

Wayne South starting pitcher Cody Richards mixed a fastball and a curveball effectively while tossing four shutout innings. The Rosewood product allowed five hits to go with four strikeouts and one walk.

Richards used a strikeout to work out of a bases loaded two-out jam in the third, and also wiggled out of trouble with two runners on and no outs in the fourth. Dontay Boseman's running catch in center field helped keep Conley off the scoreboard.

"Cody Richards threw the ball well," said McKee, the Wayne South skipper. "Cody worked out of two jams and he threw some good, quality pitches. He made some big pitches at some clutch times to shut the door."

Wayne South scored in every inning but the third, consistently keeping pressure on the D.H. Conley defense. Jordan Williams' infield single in the home half of the first scored Scott Holloman to give Wayne South an early 1-0 lead.

Richards' solo homer to right-center field in the second extended the lead to 2-0. Cody Davis and Jordan Hood added back-to-back RBI doubles and Matt Neal tacked on an RBI single.

Hood contributed a two-run single in the fourth inning, scoring Boseman and Zach Grantham. Hood later scored on an attempted double steal in which Neal was thrown out.

Wayne South added single runs in the fifth and the sixth to complete the blowout.

Hood finished 2-for-3 with three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases. Neal (RBI) and Grantham both had three hits. Holloman, Williams (RBI) and Richards (RBI) each ended the night with two hits.

"We had some good at-bats tonight and I was pleased to see that because we've been struggling to score runs here and there," said McKee. "Especially against the left-handers that we saw tonight. Left-handers have been giving us a fit all year. We seemed to make a better adjustment tonight of hitting the ball the other way where it was pitched."

Raymond Velazquez and Williams each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Consistency out of the bullpen could prove to be key this weekend as multiple games in the span of one to two days can stretch a pitching staff thin.

"Raymond had a good outing and I was glad to see that," said McKee. "He's been struggling a little bit. Jordan Williams snuck an inning in there and he hasn't been asked to pitch a whole lot this year. Coming up this weekend we'll play for sure two games and maybe even more."

Wayne South appears to be playing its best baseball of the summer heading into this weekend and should carry with it confidence and a healthy dose of momentum as it ventures to Cary.

"I feel like it's a good time to be playing well," said McKee. "It's a good time to have a game like this. You can wipe records out come Saturday ... it doesn't mean a hill of beans. You've just got to be the better team.

"It sounds like a cliché but you've got to take one pitch at a time, one game at a time and try to advance to the next level."