Despite a series of costly injuries, Heathwood Hall has put together a strong baseball season under first-year coach Ashley Farr. The Highlanders, who lost the pitching services of senior Davis Ray to a shoulder injury, still finished in second place in SCISA Region 2-3A and open the state playoffs with a first-round doubleheader at home against Florence Christian. If a third game in the best-of-three set is needed, it will be Tuesday in Florence.
The Highlanders got off to a great start this season, going 6-0 out of the gate, including a win over eventual Region 2-3A champion Hammond, who is the No. 1 seed in the Upper Bracket of the 3A playoffs. But Heathwood’s thin pitching staff wore down as the season progressed.
In the end, Melton Bristow and Matt Hensley emerged as the only reliable pitchers. Bristow finished with a 4-2 record with one save, a 2.16 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 32.2 innings of work. Hensley enters the playoffs with a 5-2 record, a fine 2.58 ERA, 38 strikeouts and just seven walks in 40.2 inning on the bump. Only one other HH hurler has an ERA below 7.00.
Bristow, Ray, Chris Barton, Chris Leventis and Walker Sojourner have been the Highlanders most consistent offensive producers. Bristow finished the regular season with a .391 batting average, scored 18 runs, swiped 11 bases and led the team in hits (25), RBIs (19), doubles (13), triples (2) and home runs (1). Ray hit .500 in 38 at bats with 12 runs, 11 RBIs and 12 steals. Barton checks in at .375 with a team-high 19 runs scored. Leventis is hitting .275 with 10 RBIs, and Sojourner is batting .250 with 14 runs and 10 RBIs.