Bradley, who was an assist at Woodstock for four seasons before moving down the road to head the Knights, has watched the program transition from a group of freshmen competing in Class AA to graduating its first class in 2013. Now with the inaugural class gone, Bradley is for the first time rebuilding at the same time River Ridge eyes a move up to Class AAAAA, where it will compete for the 2014-15 year.
In just the program’s fourth year of existence, the Knights finished second in their subregion and fourth in Region 7AAAA, which earned them their first state playoff appearance.
So far, their 2014 campaign is off to a rough start with a 1-6 record. The Knights have suffered losses against Cambridge, Creekview, Sequoyah, Cherokee, Etowah and Calhoun. The lone victory came when they escaped Woodstock, 5-4.
Against Woodstock, River Ridge took a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning only to see the Wolverines tie it up. The game went into extra innings with Woodstock pushing a run across in the top of the eighth for a 4-3 lead. River Ridge, however, came through in the bottom of the frame with two runs to win the game. Noah Fitzgerald drove in Elijah Brague for the decisive run.
Much of the early season struggles could be attributed to new players in new positions and a pitching staff that lacks varsity experience.
Jackson Weeg, the 2013 Cherokee Tribune Pitcher of the Year, has taken his talents to Emory University, while Will Redding (Georgia Southwestern), Ian Andrews (Bryan College), and Blake Juberg (LaGrange College) are also at the next level.
Stepping in to pitch has been an assortment of Knights. Brian Fisher, Ryan Worley, Taylor Connelly, Andrew Hester, Sloan Parker, Matthew Hamill, Bret Boatwright and Codey Smith have all spent time on the mound. River Ridge has used an average of four pitchers per seven-inning game.
Offensively, there has been more consistency, but still they are averaging just three runs scored per game. Driving the offense are Elijah Brague, Dalton Martin, Fitzgerald, and Chris Turner. Zach Wilkin has solidified himself in the lead-off spot. He has been followed by Martin, John Cable and Luke Berryhill before Turner and Brague. Austin Stanley, Zach Cable and Fitzgerald generally round out the lineup.
The Knights are scheduled to host North Springs today.