High School Baseball

Beaufort High to begin Lower State baseball tournament with tough test

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comMay 3, 2013 

If there is any upside to facing a future NCAA Division I pitcher with a spotless record, it's that the Beaufort High School baseball team has seen a similar motion in practice.

The Eagles open the Class 4-A Lower State championship bracket at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lexington (23-4). They expect to face Wildcats ace Josh Reagan, a left-hander who has signed with South Carolina and boasts a 15-0 record the past two seasons.

Beaufort High coach Scott Mullen, a former major leaguer, is also a lefty. He threw to the Eagles in practice on Friday and will again during batting practice Saturday.

"They've seen me all year long," Mullen said. "They're used to seeing lefties."

Reagan's control will be what sets him apart from previous left-handers the team has seen, Mullen said. The Wildcats senior struck out a season-high 12 during a win against Lugoff-Elgin in the District 5 playoffs.

Mullen said he wasn't sure which pitcher he would start. Two of his top arms, Carson Gregory and Bradley Brown, pitched Wednesday during the Eagles' two-game duel with Wando for the District 6 championship.

"We'll see how practice goes (Friday) and go from there," Mullen said. "It won't be a big secret."

Both teams are coming off thrilling finishes to the district brackets.

Lexington won District 5 on Thursday when it stole home during the eighth inning to beat Lugoff-Elgin. Beaufort High (16-9) won in eight innings of its elimination game Wednesday with Wando.

Beaufort High emerged from District 6 by having scored four runs in the final inning to defeat Wando in the opener, beating No. 2 West Florence in a close second-round game and then surviving two more shots from Wando.

The Eagles are the undisputed underdog of the four remaining Lower State teams, and the Wildcats present the toughest test.

Lexington is 10-0 at home and ranked No. 17 nationally by Baseball America. The Wildcats have won 11 of their past 12 games.

"At this point, we just have to continue to fight and keep battling," Mullen said. "That's the way we got through to where we are now. For us, it's going to be continue to play scrappy baseball, because that's how we've been winning ball games."

CLASS 4-A LOWER STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

What: Four-team, double-elimination bracket to decide Lower State champion

Who: Beaufort High (16-9) at Lexington (23-4); South Aiken at Sumter

When: Today, 1 p.m.

Where: Lexington High School

Admission: $5 for adults and children

Radio: Listen live on www.lakemurrayradio.com.

Note: Win or lose, Beaufort High will play at home at 7 p.m. Monday, May 6.

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