Notebook: baseball, softball playoffs

April 28, 2012 

Saturday is a key day for several Midlands baseball and softball teams in the second round of various district tournaments.

Class 4A baseball

Blythewood hosts a District IV second round game against Boiling Spring today at 2 p.m. The third-ranked Bengals (20-3) had a tough time against No. 4 seed Spartanburg on Thursday, needing a two-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning to escape with a 4-3 win. Joe Haas was the winning pitcher, and ace Andrew Beckwith came on in the seventh inning to pick up his third save of the season. Beckwith also had two RBIs. Blythewood's winning runs came on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice and a squeeze bunt.

White Knoll hosts surprising Irmo at 3 p.m. in a second round District VII game. White Knoll (19-5) took down Summerville 6-2 on Thursday at home, while Irmo scored the biggest upset in the entire classification with an eye-opening 7-0 win on the road over No. 1 seed Wando. The Yellow Jackets (7-13) were fortunate just to make the playoff cut after finishing in a tie for fifth place with Richland Northeast in Region 4-4A. Irmo got the nod based on its season sweep of the Cavaliers. The Jackets' stunning success ended a five-game losing streak.

Class 4A softball

Dutch Fork scored a 5-3 win over Rock Hill in the District IV tournament opener on Thursday. The Silver Foxes (15-8) host Boiling Springs on Saturday at 3 p.m. with the winner set to host the district final round on Wednesday. Jenna Elkins had two hits and one RBI to pace the offense and Haley Elkins went the distance in the circle, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out 11.

Lexington (12-12) hosts Lugoff-Elgin (8-9) in an elimination game. Both teams were shutout in first-round play in District VI. Ashley Ridge blanked Lexington 5-0, while Carolina Forest prevailed 6-0 against L-E. The loser is out and the winner moves on to a Monday elimination game.

Irmo tries to stay alive in District VII at Fort Dorchester. The Yellow Jackets fell 7-0 at Wando in the first round on Thursday.

Class 3A baseball

Two all-Midlands battles grace the 3A slate.

Top-ranked A.C. Flora (18-7) hosts Brookland-Cayce in District V clash at 7 p.m.

Flora swept the Region 5 series with the Bearcats, winning by 6-3 and 7-1 counts, on the way to the region title and a No. 1 district seed. The Falcons the playoffs opened with a 6-0 win over Hartsville on Thursday. Catcher David Houser set the tone with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning. Schroder Carlton and Connor Desmond had two hits apiece for the winning Falcons, and Jake Lewis put it away with a bases-loaded, two-run single in the six inning. Matt Wallace improved to 5-0 on the hill with a masterful 6.1-inning performance. He allowed just two hits and struck out seven while issue but one walk.

Brookland-Cayce (11-12) scored a 12-2, five-inning win on the road at Marlboro County behind Zach Sightler and Zac McLaurin. Sightler ran his mound mark top 6-2 with a complete game outing, allowing two hits and one earned run while fanning nine Bulldogs. McLaurin was the offensive standout with two doubles and four RBIs.

There is another all-Region 5 clash in District VI - Dreher at Chapin (7 p.m.).

Chapin (18-4) was a 13-4 winner in the first round against Camden. Brandon White was the winning pitcher and Zach Haralambis, Brett Auckland, John Hughes and Matt Charpia all had two hits to pace the attack.

Dreher (12-10) pulled off a 4-3 upset of No. 1 seed Darlington. Allen Burnside permitted just three hits and two earned runs in 6.1 innings to rate the win on the hill. William Axson came in to get the final two outs and earn a save. Ben Herring cracked a two-run home run in the third inning, but the game-winning hit came off the bat of Axson in the sixth inning after John Stone singled and stole second base to get into scoring position.

The Eagles and Blue Devils split their region meetings. Dreher was a 4-3 winner on March 20, and Chapin took the rematch, 6-3.

Camden (13-11) also finds itself matched up against a familiar foe in Region 6 rival Darlington, which hosts the elimination game. The teams split the region series.

Class 3A softball

Chapin hosts Region 5 rival Midland Valley in a second-round game at 4 p.m. with the winner advancing to the District V final round on Wednesday. The Eagles opened the playoffs with a 4-0 win over Camden. Senior Taylor Morgan dominated in the circle, firing a four-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts. Morgan drove in Addy Schelble with a sacrifice fly in the first inning for the only run she would need to prevail, as it turned out. Ashley Bonnette scored in the second on a sacrfice fly by Natalie Harper, Schelble drove in with a single in the fifth and Brooke Burns closed out the scoring with an RBI single in the sixth, scoring Savannah Frick. Chapin swept the region series with the Mustangs, closing out the regular season last week with a 5-2 win.

Archrivals Airport and Brookland-Cayce square off at high noon in a District VI elimination game. Airport entered postseason play as the higher seed, but B-C swept the region series to keep the Eagles from finishing in a first-place tie with Chapin. Both clubs are coming off tough, one-run losses. Airport dropped a 3-2 decision to visiting Darling, while the Bearcats pushed No. 1 seed Hartsville to eight innings before falling 2-1.

Class 2A baseball

Gilbert (23-2) hosts Mid-Carolina at 1 p.m. with the winner advancing to the District III final round on Wednesday. The Indians breezed to a 10-0 first-round win on Thursday against visiting Cheraw. Connor Owings had two double, two RBI and scored two runs. Oddly, Collins Shirley and Mike Morrison both had two RBIs in the game but no hits. Ace Austin LaBounty was the winning on the hill, tossing a one-hit shutout with six strikeouts and one walk.

Batesburg-Leesville was the only other Midlands winner in the first round, earning a 9-2 District I win over Central in Pageland. The Panthers hit the road again to play at No. 1 seed Palmetto, which was a 2-0 winner against Broome on Friday. The winner makes it to the district final round on Wednesday, while the loser is relegated to an elimination game on Monday.

Swansea and Eau Claire are facing elimination today in the wake of first-round losses. Swansea, the No. 1 seed in District V, was upset 5-4 by Woodland. The Tigers will strive to survive with a win over Timberland at home.

Class 2A softball

Swansea (15-6) travels to face Dillon with a spot in the District VIII final round up for grabs. The Tigers opened with an easy 10-0 win against Academic Magnet, while the No. 1 seed Wildcats thumped Lake City 12-1. The winner gets a pass until Wednesday, while the loser has elimination game on Monday.

Batesburg-Leesville, Pelion and Eau Claire are all on the block today after suffering first-round setbacks. Of the three, only B-L is at home against Chesnee.

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