Defending state Gilbert, Batesburg-Leesville and Pelion are all facing elimination from the Class 2A state baseball playoffs on Monday. The good news is that all three on-the-brink teams are at home.
All three teams opened with first-round district wins on Thursday, but faltered in round two.
Gilbert roughed up Eau Claire 11-0 in five innings, posting 11 hits and taking advantage of five free passes and five Shamrocks errors. Jake Padgett had the big offensive number for the Indians, going 2-for-2 with three runs scored and one RBI. Kellan Craft was 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI. Matt Stegall had a two-run hit. Josh Tronco improved to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.54 with a five-inning one-hitter. The Tribe was dominated by Chesnee junior ace Brandon Henderson on Saturday. Henderson (8-1) fanned 12 in a 3-0 win that sent the Eagles on to the District II finals. Gilbert needs a win against Emerald on Monday to stay alive.
Batesburg-Leesville dumped Andrew Jackson 10-6 in a first-round District I game on Thursday, parlaying seven hits, five walks and a hit batsmen into nine runs in the first four innings. On Saturday, Walhalla’s Ben Keaton made life miserable for the Panthers. Keaton allowed 14 B-L base runners in his six-inning start, but only one Panther managed to find his way home. Keaton also ripped a game-winning, two-run double in the bottom of the sixth to assure a 3-1 win that sent the Razorbacks on to the district finals for the first time since 2003. Left-hander Cody Sanders was the tough-luck loser for B-L. Sanders allowed only two hits and fanned 12 in a fine, complete-game effort. Sanders carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth even though the score was 1-1. B-L needs a win over Woodruff, which destroyed Andrew Jackson 30-1 on Friday, to rate another shot at Walhalla.
Pelion got off to a good start in District VIII with a 6-3 win over first-year Cane Bay, but the Panthers ran into trouble in the second round on Saturday in Marion. Justin Gause led the host Swamp Foxes by hurling a complete-game seven-hitter and going 3-for-3 with two RBIs against Pelion pitcher Wesley Camp. Justin Brock slugged a solo home run for the 8-2A pennant winners. Pelion hosts Timberland tonight with the winner advancing to the finals, the loser packing it in for the season.