Friday's best on the diamond

March 21, 2014 

Lugoff-Elgin, Brookland-Cayce and Dreher host key region baseball and softball games on Friday.

Baseball

Blythewood at Lugoff-Elgin

Second-ranked Blythewood (5-3) opened the Region 4-4A campaign with a 10-0 win over Irmo. The Bengals have won 34 straight region outings, last losing to Spring Valley, 7-6, on March 8, 2011. Barry Mizzell’s new-look team started the season with a 3-1, championship run at the Red Bank Invitational (RBI) tournament. Blythewood’s two losses have been to reigning 4A state champion Lexington and No. 1 Sumter (twice) … Lugoff-Elgin (3-2) opened the region season on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Spring Valley behind the pitching of Zach Bowers who fired a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts. In fact, the Demons are riding a streak of three straight shutout wins.

Gilbert at Brookland-Cayce

Given the early struggles at Airport, Gilbert and Brookland-Cayce appear to be very much in the Region 5-3A championship race this spring. Gilbert is off to a 7-0 start while B-C stands at 4-3 overall, 1-1 in region matters.

River Bluff at Dreher

It’s still very early in the Region 4-3A campaign, but this game could have playoff implications, or at least one that helps establish some sort of pecking order behind A.C. Flora. First-year River Bluff (3-4) has been very competitive. The Gators are 0-2 in region matters against Camden and Flora, but lost by just one run against Camden, 8-7. Dreher (3-1, 2-0) must guard against looking past the Gators to Tuesday’s game at A.C. Flora.

Softball

Blythewood at Lugoff-Elgin

Blythewood (5-3, 1-0) might be vulnerable in region play for the first time this season. The Bengals have never failed to either win outright or share a region title since the inaugural 2006 season. But offensive questions against top pitchers will have to be answered if the streak is to continue this spring. BHS breezed by Irmo, 10-0, in its Region 4-4A opener on Thursday … Lugoff-Elgin, which finished in third place behind co-champs Blythewood and Spring Valley last season, opened the Region 4-4A campaign with a 6-4 win over Spring Valley on Tuesday. Pitcher Erin Blizzard gives L-E a chance to take the high ground early in the conference race. The Demons (7-1 overall) went 4-1 at last weekend’s Wildcat Invitational tournament – the same as Blythewood. L-E’s lone tourney loss was to champion North Davidson, NC.

Gilbert at Brookland-Cayce

Gilbert (6-3) opened Region 5-3A with a big 5-4 win over Midland Valley on Wednesday. One-time powerhouse Brookland-Cayce (3-5) hopes to be more of a region factor this spring.

River Bluff at Dreher

First-year River Bluff made a splash with a 4-3 win over Camden in the first region game in program history last week. The verdict stamps the rookie Gators as a contender for a state playoff spot, if not a threat to powerhouse Chapin for the Region 4-3A pennant … Dreher got one win last weekend in its first trip in recent memory to the Wildcat Invitational tournament.

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