Baseball: Bengals claim Diamond crown

Davis, hot bats carry Blythewood to tourney title

Special to The StateApril 8, 2013 

Surging Blythewood capped a 4-0, three-day run though the South Carolina Diamond Invitational with a 10-0 victory against Greenville in the tournament championship game Sunday.

It was the first Diamond Invitational title in three tries for the host Bengals (16-3), who are on an 11-game winning streak.

“We’ve been playing pretty well, and we’re really swinging the bats,” Blythewood coach Barry Mizzell said. “Hopefully, we can keep this going.”

The Bengals are averaging 9.3 runs per game during the win streak and overpowered the opposition in the tournament with 42 runs and a .391 team batting average. Derek Croxton, who went 7-for-13 (.538) with a tournament-high nine RBIs, was named tournament MVP.

The Bengals made quick work of the Red Raiders in the final, scoring six runs in the first inning and finishing with 14 hits off three Greenville pitchers.

Aaron Dahm was the offensive standout, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. The junior leadoff man had two hits, scored one run and drove in another in the first inning. Tyler Romanik, Thomas Bessinger and Connor Grant backed Dahm with two hits apiece.

The Bengals also tallied four steals and scored three runs on wild pitches.

Despite the gaudy numbers, the star in the championship game was freshman pitcher Jacob Davis, who tossed a three-hit shutout with three strikeouts and no walks.

“This was the fourth game in three days, so we needed a strong game from Jacob, and he was really, really good,” Mizzell said. “He didn’t try to do too much. He threw strikes and let the defense make plays behind him. He has a chance to be a pretty good pitcher for us.”

It was an economical effort for the young right-hander, who needed 67 pitches in six innings.

“The coaches did talk to me about how many innings they wanted from me today; they just told me to go out and give it my best,” said Davis. “The changeup was working the best for me today. It felt really good getting out in front of it.”

Davis worked two innings of relief in the Bengals’ tournament opener Friday against Wren. In all, he allowed one earned run and four hits in a team-high eight innings of work.

Blythewood gets back to Region 4-4A on Tuesday at home against Spring Valley. The Bengals are 6-0 in region play with a two-game lead over Richland Northeast and Spring Valley.

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