High school baseball, softball teams set to resume postseason

ccox@islandpacket.comApril 29, 2013 

The Beaufort High baseball team is sitting pretty in the Class 4-A playoffs, just one win away from a District VI championship and a trip to the Lower State tournament.

The same can't be said for five other area teams, which will continue to fight for their postseason lives tonight.

While the Eagles have racked up a pair of thrilling wins to jump-start their postseason run -- a 7-6 win over Wando followed by a 9-7 road triumph at West Florence -- two other Lowcountry baseball teams face elimination tonight. Another three softball teams, including Bill Ball's Bluffton High squad, also will see their postseason fate determined tonight.

"We're going to show up to win," said Hilton Head High outfielder Andrew Dill, whose Seahawks host Marlboro County tonight at 6. "That's what I think. We're going to get pumped up, we're going to be ready to play and we're going to show up to win."

The Seahawks dropped to the Class 3-A District VII loser's bracket after a 5-2 upset loss at the hands of Brookland-Cayce Friday night. Should Hilton Head High (15-5) stay alive this evening, it will travel to face the loser of St. James and Brookland-Cayce on Wednesday. Interim coach Blair Carson could not commit to a starting pitcher for the elimination game, but suggested Jake Kizer could get the ball.

"It's a must-win," Carson said. "So we've got to do what we've got to do."

Whale Branch Early College High School must also dig itself out of the loser's bracket if it hopes to advance. The Warriors host Cross at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to face Latta, the state's No. 2-ranked team, in the Class 1-A District VIII final. Latta cruised past Whale Branch, 11-2, on Saturday night.

The Bluffton, Beaufort High and Battery Creek softball teams will also try to keep their seasons afloat later tonight. The Bobcats (16-5) host Stratford at 6:30 p.m. after being nipped, 4-3, by top-seeded Carolina Forest on Saturday.

Bluffton cruised by Stratford, who stayed alive with an 8-7, extra innings victory Saturday over North Augusta, in the Class 4-A District VI opener last week. Should the Bobcats win, they will need to beat Carolina Forest twice in order to advance. Bluffton has lost in the district championship in each of the last three seasons.

"The teams were very evenly matched," Ball said after Saturday's loss to Carolina Forest. "They had a little bit more offense, and their lineup was a little bit deeper than ours."

The Eagles will try to continue their season at Lexington tonight after being shellacked by South Florence 18-3 in the playoff opener. Battery Creek, meanwhile, will trave to face Edisto tonight, which lost to Barnwell 5-1 on Saturday in the winner's bracket. The Dolphins (10-5) stayed alive on Saturday by eliminating fellow area foe Ridgeland-Hardeeville 11-1 in District V 2-A action.

Only coach Scott Mullen's Beaufort High remains unscathed. The Eagles (15-8) have the luxury of another pair of off days before returning to play Wednesday night in the district championship. They need only to win one of two games to advance to the next round.

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