High Schools

Area baseball, softball teams hope to start district playoffs Thursday

Rain could force changes to schedule

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com, ksalter@islandpacket.comMay 1, 2014 

The rain could shake up the start of the S.C. High School League baseball and softball playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Thursday.

With heavy rain in the area Wednesday and more rain and possible thunderstorms expected today, coaches and administrators are on standby for possible postponements.

Games would be pushed back to Friday, also weather permitting. Another issue affecting scheduling are proms.

Goose Creek wanted the Beaufort High School baseball team to consider an afternoon start if the teams have to play Friday, because of Goose Creek's prom the same night. If Beaufort High wins Thursday or Friday and advances to play Lexington, the game would be in the early afternoon Saturday because of Lexington's prom.

But the skies will hold the answers for the next couple of days.

"A lot of scenarios," Beaufort High athletics director Jerry Linn said. "It's day by day."

BASEBALL: Battery Creek eyeing banners

Battery Creek High School baseball coach Shawn Morrison arrives at school early enough each morning to admire the banners hanging in the gymnasium listing the accomplishments of various sports.

On the banner for baseball region championships are only two years: 1977 and 1993. The Dolphins hoped to change that this season but couldn't quite get there.

But another banner is still in reach -- that of Lower State champion. And then, perhaps, a framed team photo reserved for state champions.

Those benchmarks might be reserved as targets for future seasons, but Morrison wants the mindset now. Battery Creek, as the No. 2 seed from Region 6-AA, plays host to Wade Hampton at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to open the Class 2-A District 5 playoffs.

If the weather doesn't cooperate, the game would move to Friday.

"I think our confidence level is where it needs to be," Morrison said. "We just need to stay united and keep the end goal in mind at all times."

Battery Creek played Wade Hampton twice during a tournament earlier in the season and won 5-4 and 4-0. Morrison said neither victory came against Wade Hampton's ace and that the Dolphins should expect a fight.

Battery Creek is hoping to avenge a 9-1 loss to Wade Hampton in the district playoffs that ended its 2013 season.

Morrison expects senior Zach Mahan to start and looks for Wade Hampton to throw its best. The Dolphins coach is rooting against the rain to preserve the look of the rotation later in the playoffs.

"It should be a pretty high-quality matchup," Morrison said.

SOFTBALL: Bobcats try to put it all together

Bluffton softball coach Bill Ball knows he has a good team on his hands. With the playoffs getting underway Thursday, now is the time to find out just how good.

The Bobcats (14-1) sit in the pole position in District 8 of the Class 4-A playoffs. The No. 1 seed will host No. 3 Cane Bay at Bluffton High School at 6:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Ball said he is confident that his team has all of the pieces in place for postseason success: experience, consistency, offensive firepower and a talented ace in senior pitcher Courtney Smith. Advancing now comes down to executing the specifics of Ball's gameplan.

"When you're scouting somebody out, you're really looking for specifics if you can, but if you can't, maybe some general tendencies," Ball said. "It's an incredibly critical part of our game, to understand the other team's offensive tendencies and pitch accordingly. When you have a seasoned veteran with the quality stuff that Courtney does, you have to take advantage of that."

Ball is confident that his bats are in good shape. Bluffton hasn't been shut out all season and scored five runs in its only loss. He has spent this week focusing on the little things, such as the basics of baserunning and infield footwork. It's that attention to detail, both in scouting and preparation, that Ball said will allow the Bobcats to capitalize on a great regular season.

"The same stuff that you start day one of training camp with are the things that will carry you right through to the end at this point in the season," Ball said.

If the Bobcats win their first game of the double-elimination district tournament, they will face the winner of a game between Carolina Forest and Dutch Fork at home on Saturday. They would face the loser of that matchup if they were to lose to Cane Bay.

"I think if we execute the way we're capable of, we have a very good chance to beat anybody," Ball said.

BASEBALL

Class 4-A

Lower State District 5

(3) Beaufort High at (2) Goose Creek, 7 p.m. Thursday

Class 3-A

Lower State District 6

(3) Myrtle Beach at (2) Hilton Head Island, 6 p.m. Friday

Class 2-A

Lower State District 5

(3) Wade Hampton at (2) Battery Creek, 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Class 1-A

Lower State District 8

(3) Military Magnet at (2) Whale Branch, 6 p.m. Thursday

SCISAA Class 3-A

Cardinal Newman at Hilton Head Prep, DH, 2 p.m. Friday

SCISAA Class 2-A

Thomas Heyward Academy at R.E. Lee Academy, DH, 4 p.m. Friday

SOFTBALL

Class 4-A

Lower State District 5

(3) Beaufort High at (2) Wando, 6 p.m. Thursday

Lower State District 8

(4) Cane Bay at (1) Bluffton, 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Class 3-A

Lower State District 5

(4) Hilton Head Island at (1) North Myrtle Beach, Thursday

Class 2-A

Lower State District 5

(3) Edisto at (2) Battery Creek, 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Class 1-A

Lower State District 8

(3) Charleston Math & Science at (2) Whale Branch, 6 p.m. Thursday

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