Hilton Head Island High School baseball team missed two chances early in Monday's game at Beaufort High School to execute bunts.
Runners didn't get moved over. The mood in Seahawks' practice today might have been dark had those plays not been followed by something better.
But Hilton Head High earned another chance. Consecutive bases-loaded squeeze plays in the fifth inning helped the Seahawks roll to a 6-1 road win and showed Hilton Head High coaches at least some fundamentals are intact early in the season.
"That's gutsy," Seahawks catcher Brandon Johnson said. "Sometimes you've got to do that to win."
Never miss a local story.
Hilton Head High won't escape the cages today and will still lay down bunts, as they do each practice. But the successful bunts, first by Mat Clark and then Aaron Facenda, helped the Sehawks forget the earlier miscues.
And another solid pitching performance pushed Hilton Head High to 2-0.
After Clark threw a complete game to win the opener, the Seahawks were on pitch counts Monday. Ryan Cherry, a newcomer from Bluffton, earned his first win as a Seahawk after throwing four innings and allowing a run. Andrew Dill, back from a layoff as a precaution for a tender elbow, struck out the side in the fifth and showed why Seahawks coach Chris Wells thinks Dill could be his ace.
And Clark came on for a lefty-lefty matchup with Beaufort High's Alex Silon and earned the final out of the sixth inning, leaving the bases loaded.
"I'm not sure if we're going to be dominant, but we're going to be good every night," Wells said. "We won't have any nights where we're not confident with the guy on the hill."
"We're all pretty good," said Cherry, who located his curveball and kept his fastball down to Beaufort High hitters.
Beaufort High (1-2) experienced the same cold bats that led to a season-opening loss to Stratford, when the Eagles struck out 13 times. The fire returned during a win at West Ashley, but Beaufort High hitters were baffled again Monday.
"We saw their three best pitchers tonight, and we knew that was coming," Beaufort High coach Scott Mullen said. "And we didn't swing the bat."
The Eagles are without their top starter, Carson Gregory, who is recovering from a broken bone in his hand. And senior David Tilton is recovering from a torn muscle and jammed finger.
That means the Eagles' rotation to start this week is full of relievers, Mullen said, including Monday's starter, Matt Thorpe. Another reliver, Brady Cormier, is expected to start today at Battery Creek.
"We've got a lot of things we've got to get figured out before region play," Mullen said.
Hilton Head High 011 040 0 -- 6 11 2
Beaufort High 001 000 0 -- 1 3 1
W: Ryan Cherry (1-0) 4 IP, 1 R, 1ER, 3 H, 3 K, 4 BB.
L: Matt Thorpe (0-1) 4 2/3, 2 R, 2 ER, 10 H, 2 K, 4 BB.
Top hitters: Hilton Head High -- Adam Orischak 1-2, SB, 2 RBIs, BB; Mat Clark 2-4, 2 R, RBI; Aaron Facenda 2-3, RBI, BB. Brandon Johnson 1-2, HBP. Beaufort High -- Stephen Baggett 2-4, RBI; Chris Tealey 1-1, 2 BB; Louis Brown 0-1, 2 BB, R.