Chickenhawks rout Barracudas, 11-2


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ST. THOMAS - Gweshaughn Richards did not look comfortable at the plate during Charlotte Amalie High School's first four baseball games of the IAA season.

The 6-foot-2 freshman first baseman was a different player Saturday. Richards was 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs in an 11-2 win over St. Croix Educational Complex in five innings at Lionel Roberts Stadium.

"I just cleared my head and I was more aggressive," Richards said. "Just to approach the ball more aggressive. It really boosts my confidence."

The shy rookie was smiling considerably more than usual, which also had to do with the overall team performance. The Chickenhawks (3-2) took advantage of four Complex errors to send the Barracudas (7-3) back to St. Croix with two losses in as many days.

Richards was batting eighth in the order and hit an RBI double to left field off Complex senior reliever Ajani Dowdy in a five-run third inning. It was the first batter Dowdy faced, and it was with the bases loaded. Before Richards made contact, a wild pitch allowed CAHS senior Dalwin Rojas to score from third.

Richards was up again in a three-run fourth inning, and was the second batter to face senior reliever Ian Lewis. The right-hander hit the ball to right field this time to bring in the team's final two runs.

"Truly, we spoke to him," said CAHS first-base coach Cyril Andrews Sr., who works with the batters. "As a freshman, we let him know when we put him up there to hit, it's like he has to get three good swings. He's one of the few players that we don't give a take sign or whatever. We just leave him hit since he's a freshman."

Complex fell 1-0 to Ivanna Eudora Kean High School on Friday, and struggled without two of its top players against the St. Thomas competition.

Shortstop Jose Martinez Jr. and catcher Raymond Sankitts, both juniors, bat third and fourth in the lineup and are the team's top defensive players. Their parents opted not send them to St. Thomas with exams planned for Monday and Tuesday.

"If you're on a home base with anything, I mean, you're more aggressive," Complex coach Ellerton Maynard said. "You come on a different turf, you're somewhat passive and this is exactly what happened on this trip. I mean, we were somewhat handicapped, with two of our, you could consider, our premier players, but hey, you can't take anything from the guys. They came out, they wanted it more than us."

The game ended on a gutsy throw home from CAHS junior reserve right fielder Braulio Lopez Reyes. Complex senior Jamari White tried to score from second on Dowdy's single, but Reyes' bouncing throw home was just in time for senior catcher Iroy Ward.

CAHS senior pitcher Devon Williams got the win after giving up two runs on four hits in five innings. Williams struck out four batters and bothered the Barracudas with his off-speed pitches.

"I felt, I pitched OK and the fact that I had the lead most of the game gave me the confidence to go right after the hitters," Williams said.

CAHS 11, Complex 2

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi.

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