Brookland-Cayce is in the commanding position in the Class 3A District 8 state playoff bracket. The Bearcats stand at 2-0 and will host the district championship round on Wednesday needing just one win to advance to the Elite Eight phase of the postseason for the 10th time in 11 tries since the advent of the district style playoff format in 2001.
Not bad, considering the Bearcats suffered through an altogether disappointing regular season. B-C finished in fourth place in Region 5-3A this season – the worst Bearcats conference showing in more than 15 years.
“We had nobody to blame but ourselves for our troubles in the regular season,” said veteran coach Brian Hucks.
“We hit the ball well, but we didn’t pitch well or play good defense on a consistent basis. But this is one of the most talented teams we’ve ever had, and I knew things could change quickly if we got it together. We have clinched anything yet, but maybe we’re peaking at the right time.”
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B-C opened the playoffs with a 3-2 win at St. James on Friday night, and returned to the Grand Strand area less than 24 hours later to beat Myrtle Beach, 11-7.
Senior ace left-hander Michael Gilroy was back in form in the opener, allowing St. James just three hits and fanning nine Sharks. T.J. Hoard and Zac McLaurin hit sole home runs, and Hoard drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly.
Chase Shelton, another senior southpaw, was the winning pitcher vs. Myrtle Beach, and Tanner Petrey came in to earn a save.
John Long and Zack Warner paced the 13-hit attack with three safeties apiece. Long scored two runs, and Warner finished with four RBIs. The big Warner blow was a three-run homer. Shelton also had a big game at the dish, going 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs and three RBIs.
The Bearcats (15-10) will face either Myrtle Beach or St. James in the region final at The Back Forty. The visiting team needs two wins to advance to the Lower State tournament.