MYRTLE BEACH — Socastee coach Curtis Hudson was dissatisfied by his team’s execution on offense Thursday.
The Braves fell behind early and couldn’t respond at the plate as they fell 2-0 to the Gilman (Md.) Greyhounds at the Ripken Experience.
“I’m just disappointed in our effort,” Hudson said. “Give it to [Gilman]. They out-executed us is basically what they did. They executed when they had runners on, we didn’t execute when we had runners on and we had a ton of chances.
“You have to give them credit, they beat us. They played the game at a more mature and higher level than we did. I’m disappointed in that right now. We have the ability and we have the talent, we’re just not executing night in and night out.”
Trailing 2-0, the Braves had a chance to make some noise in the top of the seventh. But again, Socastee’s offense came up empty.
Jason Farria hit a leadoff single up the middle, but Buck Bacot flew out to center field for the first out. Ryan Beale then hit a single to move Farria to second, but Hunter Renfrow flew out to shallow center field for the second out. Zach Hyde, with two outs and the Braves’ fate in his hands, flew out to end the game.
“We didn’t execute again,” Hudson said of his team’s effort in the seventh inning. “You wait until the end, you have to execute. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. If we execute earlier in the game, we actually got two or three runs by that time. In the ballgame, you don’t have too much pressure on yourself then. If it’s 2-0, you have to get two or more runs and there’s added pressure. If it’s 1-1, then there’s not as much pressure there.”
Sam McKinney received the loss despite a valiant effort on the mound. He scattered six hits in six innings, struck out five, and allowed two runs as his record fell to 1-1.
“We’ve pitched our rear end off every game but one,” Hudson said. “Our pitchers deserve better than they’re getting from our players at the plate and our players in the field; that has to stop if we want to win some baseball games. Every one of our pitchers are doing the job – each and every night – and we don’t do a good job helping them out. If they can execute, why can’t we execute at the plate for them? We just have to execute better than we did tonight.”
Gilman starter Gavin Sheets – after tossing a 1-2-3 first inning – got the Greyhounds on board in the bottom half as he drove in Ben Grace on a double to give them a 1-0 lead. Gilman didn’t score again until the sixth inning, when Matt Sladzinski had an RBI fielder’s choice to give the Greyhounds a 2-0 advantage. And that was all Gilman would need.
Sheets got the win as he struck out two, scattered two hits, two walks and hit one batter in 4 1/3 innings.
“He did a nice job,” Hudson said of Sheets. “He threw strikes and made us put it in play. We just didn’t put it in play very hard and they made plays.”
Socastee will try to get back on track when they go on the road to Myrtle Beach on Friday at 6 p.m.
“We hit maybe two balls hard all night, that was it,” Hudson said. “We put the ball in play – we struck out a lot – but we didn’t put it in play very hard.
“…We just have to execute better. We have to play the game better and play it at a higher level.”
• W–Gavin Sheets. L–Sam McKinney (1-1). Top hitters – Socastee: Dalton Smith 1-2, 2B. Gilman: Sheets 2-3, 2B, RBI.
• Records – Socastee 5-3, Gilman 2-1.
Contact MAX McKINNON at 626-0295.