In past years, Battery Creek's baseball team might have folded, chalked up a game like the one Friday to inexperience and vowed to do better.
But this Dolphins group is older, has played together three seasons. And so, after missing several opportunities early, Battery Creek delivered a seventh-inning comeback to defeat Hilton Head High, 5-4.
Battery Creek (3-2 overall, 1-0 Region 7-AAA) twice loaded the bases before the seventh, plating no runs in either inning. When they loaded the bases again in the seventh, with two outs, Battery Creek coaches held their breath.
But the veteran Dolphins weren't worried. They scored four runs during the final half-inning, capped by senior C.J. Jenkins' game-winning hit into the right-field corner. Senior Joe Fields had driven in two on an infield single to tie the game before Jenkins' winner.
"This team has a lot of heart," Jenkins said.
Before that, Battery Creek coach Dan Tooman had been frantic with instructions, trying to keep his team motivated. A bases-loaded, none-out situation in the second ended in a pop out and a double play. On the fly out, the runner on third was sent home but didn't go after tagging up. With the bases again loaded in the sixth, the Dolphins missed a chance to pull within a run after a missed squeeze sign.
"We were losing the game on our own," Battery Creek pitcher Shane Goude said. "We were beating ourselves up."
But the experience finally won out, Tooman said. Battery Creek was down to its final strike before Thomas Smith drew a walk after being down in the count 0-2. Tooman had told Smith to gut it out, that if he reached, Fields could tie the game.
The Dolphins got a complete game from Goude, who improved to 1-1 on the season. Goude also hit a triple and double and scored two runs. The junior said the Dolphins entered the game confident, that a poor record against Hilton Head High (2-3, 0-1) in recent years provided motivation.
Seahawks pitcher Cameron Stoltz also pitched all seven innings. He had only allowed a run entering the seventh, having made quick work of the Dolphins to that point. Coach Chris Wells visited the mound with two outs and the bases loaded in the final inning, determining Stoltz was OK to finish.
"I was just really trying to get a feel for how he was doing mentally," Wells said. "He talked calm and poised. I thought he had earned an opportunity to finish the game."
Hilton Head High 000 021 1 -- 4 6 2
Battery Creek 000 010 4 -- 5 8 2
WP: Shane Goude (1-1) 7 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 4 K
LP: Cameron Stoltz (0-1) 7 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 5 K
Top hitters: Hilton Head High -- Charlie Wilkins 2 for 3, 2 RBI, 3B, 2B; Desmond Bush 2 for 3, 2B, 2 R. Battery Creek -- Shane Goude 2 for 2, 3B, 2B, BB; Joe Fields 2 for 4, 2 RBI; C.J. Jenkins 1 for 2, BB, RBI.
Next: Berkeley at Battery Creek, Wednesday, 6 p.m. Lake Marion at Hilton Head High (makeup), TBA.