Gilbert and host Blythewood were the Midlands headline teams at the inaugural South Carolina Diamond Invitational spring break baseball tournament last week.
Gilbert and Blythewood both went 3-1 in the tournament.
Gilbert (18-2) advanced to the championship game with wins over Class 4A Lexington, 3A Brookland-Cayce and 4A Dutch Fork, but the Indians saw their 16-game winning streak come to an end in the final on Sunday. South Aiken topped Gilbert 8-5 to claim the championship.
Blythewood also stumbled against South Aiken, losing to the Thoroughbreds 5-2 in the second round on Friday, but the Bengals rebounded to defeat Ridge View 11-1 and edge Brookland-Cayce 8-7 in the third-place, consolation final.
Here are some tournament highlights:
GILBERT - Mike Morrison’s three-run homer in the top of the fifth inning brought the Tribe within 7-5 of South Aiken in the title game, but that was as close as it would get Josh Tronco and Jared Williams, the eighth and ninth batters, respectively, in the order both had two RBIs in the 11-2 third round win over Dutch Fork The Indians fashioned a decisive three-run burst in the bottom of the fifth inning in a 6-5 win over Brookland-Cayce in the second round. Austin LaBounty reached base on an error and eventually scored. Dillon Chewning had the only hit and RBI in the inning and pinch runner Trevor Black scored what proved to be the winning run on a wild pitch. Tronco went the distance to bag the mound decision, allowing just six hits. Four of B-C’s five runs were of the unearned variety Taylor Burriss shared the tournament batting championship and was the base running competition winner, clocking in at 6.95 seconds going from second base to home plate. Burriss was 6-for-9 (.667), drew six free passes and led the tournament in steals with five Morrison shared the tourney RBI title with seven.
BLYTHEWOOD - Grayson Greiner ripped a two-run homer in the first inning and Hayden Banks cracked a solo shot in the sixth, but Thomas Bessinger’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh was the game winner in the third-place win over Brookland-Cayce. Bessinger was also the winning pitcher in relief Daniel Young has three RBIs in the rout of Ridge View Greiner had two hits and two RBIs, but it was not enough against South Aiken Greiner shared the tournament batting title, going 6-for-9 with five walks, and six RBIs The Bengals return to regular season play this week with a 13-4 record.
BROOKLAND-CAYCE - The Bearcats (9-8) went 2-2 at the tournament and returns Region 5-3A action on Tuesday at Airport Chase Shelton was the home run derby winner, advancing to the finals by belting seven circuit shots in the preliminary round, and downing Dutch Fork’s Nick Papas 10-6 in the head-to-head final round Zack Warner had a big offensive tournament, going 8-for-15 (.533) with four runs, five RBIs, two doubles and one homer. He shared tournament honors in hits and total bases (13) John Long shared the tourney RBI title with seven and T.J. Hoard tied for first in runs scored (6).
LEXINGTON - The Wildcats (8-10) scored more runs and hit more home runs that any team in the tournament, but also allowed the most runs, was charged with the second highest total of fielding errors and had a 9.00 team ERA ... Collin Steagall shared tourney honors in hits (8) and total bases (13) The Wildcats got its only win in the last tournament game – a 19-9 romp over Ridge View. Steagall had four hits in six at bats, including a home run, and drove in three runs. Dillon Hodge and Archie Owens came off the bench to contribute four RBIs each.
DUTCH FORK - The Silver Foxes (8-8) went 1-3 in the tournament Conner David had three hits and four RBIs in a 12-6 loss to Hilton (NY) Travis Derrick hit a solo home run vs. Gilbert Ryan Blanchard had two hits and two RBIs in DF’s lone win over Lexington, but the game-winning RBI in the 9-8 decision came of the bat of Papas in the fifth inning.
RIDGE VIEW - The Blazers (5-11) finished with a 1-3 tournament record Brenton Smith and Michael Coyle had two RBIs apiece vs. Lexington. Hampton Bailey’s home run accounted for the lone RV run against Blythewood Smith, Adam Knopik and Bradley Barnhill all drove in two runs in the Blazers 9-1, second-round win over Hilton (NY).