Brookland-Cayce turned in another strong performance at the International Paper Classic, finishing in second place at the premier in-state preseason tournament.
The Bearcats, who went 4-0 to win the IPC championship last season, went 3-1 this time, falling 2-0 to Wando in the title game on Sunday at Mike Johnson Park in Georgetown. The B-C highlight was outstanding pitching by four different starters.
Alex Nettles tossed a five-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over host Georgetown in the opener last Thursday. USC-bound James Hall followed with a 2-1 win over Riverside in the second round on Friday, scattering five hits while striking out 11 and issuing just one walk. Riverside scored its only run in the first inning on back-to-back, one-out doubles but did not solve Hall again. Michael Gilroy went the distance, allowing just one earned run, in a 6-3 win over Belton-Honea Path on Saturday to win the Class 3A bracket and advance to the tournament finale. Gilroy surrendered six hits, fanned four and walked no one.
In the championship game on Sunday, Jeremy Brazzell pitched well but was out-dueled by Wando’s Bradley Evsich. Brazell was touched for two earned runs, seven hits and walked five. He had seven strikeouts. Evsich was outstanding, tossing a four-hit shutout.
The tournament offensive highlight for B-C came in the come-from-behind success vs. BHP. The Bearcats trailed 2-1 entering the top of the seventh but exploded for five runs. Two BHP errors, a two-run double by Hall and RBI singles by Zack Warner and Nettles did the damage.
Hall, Nettles and Foster Stephens were B-C’s picks on the all-tournament team. Stephens, the junior center fielder and leadoff man, hit .333 in the tournament (4-for-12) and scored four runs.
B-C’s pitching at the IPC was, as advertised, outstanding. The four Bearcats starters all threw complete games, combining for a 1.81 ERA and a total of 27 strikeouts and just seven walks.
The Bearcats open the regular season Wednesday at South Aiken in the Region 5-3A opener for both teams.