While a softball pitching duel was going on at an adjacent field, Brookland-Cayce ace left-hander Michael Gilroy and Chapin right-hander Taylor Alvarez spent most of the baseball contest matching zeros.
In the end, Gilroy got the better of it. The senior southpaw was in midseason form, firing a one-hit gem in the Bearcats’ 1-0 win over the visiting Eagles in the Region 5-3A opener for both teams.
The softball game later ended with the same final score, but with a different winner. Taylor Morgan tossed a one-hitter with 18 strikeouts for the Eagles to prevailed at the expense of B-C star Chandler Terrapin.
There was a whole lot of pitching going on in Cayce last night.
Gilroy had 10 strikeouts on the way to the shutout win in B-C’s first game of the new season. Taylor Alvarez, meanwhile, allowed just five hits and fanned four.
The winning run came on an odd play in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bearcats manager Brian Hucks ordered a squeeze play with runners on second and third with no outs. The bunt was never put down, and T.J. Hoard, the runner come down the line from third, was left in no-man’s land. But somehow Hoard avoided being tagged out and dashed home to score the game winner.
The veteran Bearcats, who went 25-7 and was a Final Four playoff team (losing to South Aiken in the Lower State final), entered the 2011 campaign ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. B-C takes its act on the road Thursday to Georgetown for start of the 21st annual International Paper Classic. B-C won the IP Classic title in 2008 and was the runner-up in 2009.
B-C is matched against No. 3 Belton-Honea Path in the final first-day game at 9:30 p.m., takes on No. 2 St. James at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and closes pool play on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. against host Georgetown.
Gilroy and Chase Shelton are the aces of a deep pitching staff. Gilroy 7-4 with a 1.51 ERA last season, fanning 81 in 60.1 innings of work. Shelton was 8-0 with one save and a 2.01 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 55.1 innings. John Long (2-2, 2.75 ERA) and Tanner Petrey (4-0, 1.67 ERA) are the other returning workhorses on the staff.
Shelton (.449, 33 R, 32 RBIs, 7 HR) and Petrey (.388, 22 R, 23 RBI) are fixtures in the outfield when not pitching, and Long (.294, 20 R, 16 RBI) moves from second base to shortstop.
Senior first baseman Zack Warner (.392, 33 R, 17 RBI), junior outfielders Hunter Watts and Zack McLaurin, senior second baseman Brandon Sizemore and senior third baseman Hoard are also back onboard.
The only new face in the lineup is junior catcher Patrick Burt.