High School Sports

Bearcats ready for key two-game region set

After going 5-1 over spring break, Brookland-Cayce is gearing up for the stretch run in Region 5-3A baseball. The Bearcats, who stand at 14-5 and 3-2 in the region (two games behind front-running Dreher), have three critical conference games on the table next week.

B-C’s shot at defending its 2008 region championship may well hinge on the outcome of road dates at Airport on Monday and at Dreher on Tuesday.

“With two losses in the region, we have no margin for error,” said Bearcats coach Brian Hucks. “We’re still undecided on our pitching match-ups (on Monday and Tuesday). What we have to keep in mind is we’re setting up our pitching for five region games in the next two weeks, not just the first two games.”

Hucks said he is leaning toward starting ace James Hall vs. Airport on Monday, but that could change. Hall was a tough-luck loser in the first meeting with Dreher, falling 1-0 despite fanning 17 Blue Devils. B-C had two runners tagged out at the plate in the tense struggle on March 20.

The Bearcats went 4-1 at the Sandlapper spring break tournament, losing 6-3 to Hopewell (NC) in the championship game on Wednesday night. B-C carried a 3-0 into the top of the seventh inning behind the outstanding pitching of Alex Nettles. But Nettles, who was working on just three days rest, tired in the seventh, giving up two leadoff hits before the B-C defense fell apart behind him. Three errors led to five unearned runs for Hopewell, a team B-C defeated in a non-region, non-tournament game four days before.

“Alex was sensational, especially pitching on short rest,” said Hucks. “The defense let him down. We learned a lesson that you have to be able to finish.”

B-C advanced to the finals with a 10-1 semifinal win over 4A Mauldin on Wednesday afternoon. Michael Gilroy tossed a four-hit, complete-game gem. Chase Shelton and Foster Stephens paced the attack with three hits apiece.