The Conway softball team got on the bus earlier than originally planned this morning.
The Tigers are heading to Summerville for a 1 p.m. game in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs. It was supposed to be a great moment for a team that is heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Instead, players both on and off the bus have already shed more than a few tears.
“They’re standing in the parking lot crying right now. Some of them can’t go,” coach Mike Skipper said. “Everybody’s crying. It’s been a big ordeal. We waited five years to get in the playoff, and now this is happening.”
Conway’s baseball and softball teams were scheduled to play Summerville last night. The Tigers made the trip, each team on their own bus. However the games were rained out, and Summerville did not have the resources to get the field ready to go.
They moved the games to today, first at 2 p.m., then with a slight adjustment to 1 p.m.
One problem: Conway’s prom is this evening.
With travel time on the buses taking about 3 hours, players essentially had to choose – the playoffs or the prom. Baseball coach Anthony Carroll said his entire team, including stars Grant Holmes, G.K. Young and Jordan Gore, was en route to Summerville.
For Skipper, it is a different story.
After taking 17 players to Summerville Thursday night, seven juniors and seniors elected tonight’s formal over the game. Some cited the money they had spent on dresses; others had already scheduled hair and make-up appointments. None wanted to stand up dates.
A tough decision, to be sure.
Those choices have Skipper on a bus with just 10 players. His missing five starters, including his entire infield. Needless to say, it’s not exactly the situation anyone hoped for.
After the Tigers made the playoffs in 2008, eight of nine starters graduated. It took Conway years to build back up, and this year, following that long wait, they clinched a playoff berth by finishing in third place in Region VI-AAAA. There was also an impressive victory over Carolina Forest – one of the state’s primary title contenders – along the way.
The Conway softball team fell 10-0 to Summerville in a run-rule shortened five innings. The Tigers will now face Lugoff-Elgin on the road Saturday in the loser’s bracket of the Class AAAA, District VIII tournament. The loser of that game will be eliminated from the playoffs.
Anthony Carroll’s Conway baseball team fared significantly better. Catcher and Coastal Carolina signee G.K. Young hit a pair of home runs and racked up five runs batted in and Florida commitment Grant Holmes through a complete game topropelled the Tigers to a 5-1 win in the opening round.
Conway will head to South Aiken Saturday for the winner’s bracket match-up. The winner of that game will then have to win just one game on Wednesday to advance to the Lower State playoffs.