BC comes up empty-handed in baseball playoff opener

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comMay 2, 2014 

The tarps were dragged out again late Thursday at Battery Creek High School to cover the pitcher's mound and batter's box.

Dolphins players and coaches had worked many of the previous 24 hours to ready their field for the start of the Class 2-A District 5 baseball playoffs against Wade Hampton.

The grass was wet and tall, the infield dark but playable. The rain held off.

The manual labor and good fortune with the weather proved fruitless about the time Rogan Gibson stepped on the field.

The Wade Hampton senior, who learned Thursday he was a North-South all-star selection, hit and pitched his team past Battery Creek during the Red Devils' 4-1 victory.

Gibson came on in relief during the fourth inning and struck out nine the final four innings, the big man placing his curveball to accent a strong fastball. He was 3 for 4 at the plate, with a double.

"He is the engine to their motor," said Battery Creek second baseman William Howell, who was 2 for 3. "If he is on pitching, it's hard to stop him."

The Dolphins (14-9) will host Woodland on Saturday at 2 p.m. trying to avoid elimination. Wade Hampton will go to Barnwell.

The home loss halted Battery Creek's recent momentum. The Dolphins had won their previous two games by a combined 35-6, including a 16-5 beatdown at Class 4-A Fort Dorchester to avenge an earlier loss.

But the bats couldn't keep up the pace Thursday. Wade Hampton started Bryson Butts, who had pitched well against Battery Creek earlier in the season.

He held the Dolphins scoreless before giving way to Gibson, who dodged a bases-loaded situation in the fourth with a swinging strikeout to end the inning. He struck out the side in the seventh.

The Dolphins' run came when Zach Mahan singled, stole a base and scored on Aaron Brantley's sharp shot to the shortstop.

Wade Hampton's big inning came in the third, when it batted around and delivered three runs.

But Battery Creek's defense helped limit the Red Devils' to four runs despite 10 hits.

Brantley leaped to stab a line drive in the fourth inning. Mahan, the senior who started for Battery Creek, got a strikeout and groundout after Wade Hampton loaded the bases in the fifth. Catcher Clyde Parker jumped to catch a tricky pop-up behind home plate.

To the Red Devils, the four runs were a relief after scoring only a run during their most recent three losses, including two shutouts.

"It just showed up for us tonight," Gibson said. "The hitting showed up."

Howell said Battery Creek's production needed to happen sooner in the game.

"If we come out and score, our energy is up," he said. "We can't be a late-inning team."

Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.

Wade Hampton 4, Battery Creek 1

Wade Hampton 103 000 0 -- 4 10 1

Battery Creek 000 001 0 -- 1 5 1

WP: Bryson Butts 3+ IP, 2 H, BB, 0 R

LP: Zach Mahan 7 IP, 10 H, 7 K, 4 BB, HBP

Top hitters: Wade Hampton -- Carlton Bowers 3 for 4, 2 R; Rogan Gibson 3 for 4, 2B; Brandon Shipes 2 for 2, BB, RBI. Battery Creek -- Michael Jennings 2 for 4, SB; William Howerll 2 for 3.

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