If he had needed to, he could have cleared the bases. But all the Bobcats needed was one.
Sophomore Michael Grunder's single to deep right-center field scored Sean Holm with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning on Monday night to give Bluffton a 3-2 win over Dixie in the nightcap of the BATRUP Tournament at Bluffton High School.
"The kids may not believe me, but over in the corner of the dugout, I mentally told myself there's going to come a situation where Mike Grunder's going to get us a hit," Bluffton head coach Bryant Kitty said. "If I had said it out loud, people would have me going to buy lottery tickets tonight. He needed that, too. He's been struggling a little bit this year."
Holm got the winning rally started with a one-out walk and after advancing to second on a passed ball, beat the throw to third on Nick Williamsen's bunt. Grunder followed with his game-winning hit.
"It was huge for us," Kitty said. "It was a much-needed win, not just for us but for our fans and our parents."
Bluffton scored its first two runs in the second. Chance Murphy led off with a single, and Holm drove him in with a double. After a gutsy two-strike sacrifice bunt by Williamsen pushed Murphy to third, Cooper Boni scored him on a groundout.
Dixie evened the score in the top of the sixth when the Hornets strung together a walk, a sacrifice bunt and three straight singles before Bluffton's Brooks Robinson came on to put out the fire.
Robinson earned the win in relief for the Bobcats, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out two, waking one and giving up one hit. Kitty said Robinson will start today when Bluffton faces defending Class 1-A state champions St. Joseph's at 7 p.m.
St. Joseph's beat Wade Hampton 11-1 on Monday.
"Their pitching is pretty deep and they're well coached, so we know we're going to have our hands full," Kitty said.
In the other BATRUP game featuring a local team, Lawrence County (Ky.) downed Battery Creek, 3-2.
Thomas Smith took the loss for the Dolphins. He gave up six hits and struck out four in six innings.
Matt Heroux was 1 for 1 with a double and a run scored, while Zack Mahan was 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Battery Creek faces Dixie at 1 p.m. today, while Lawrence plays Wade Hampton at 4 p.m.
BATRUP JV SCORES
Lawrence County (Ky.) 4, Corbin (Ky.) 3
Hilton Head Island 8, Savannah Christian 3
St. Joseph's 10, Battery Creek 3
Bluffton won by forfeit against Lawrence County
Seahawk Invitational: Host Hilton Head Island High opened tournament play by pounding out 11 hits in a 7-0 shutout of Corbin (Ky.) 7-0.
In other tournament games Monday, it was Pulaski County 5, Hillcrest 4; Richmond County 6, Walhalla 2; and Dobyns Bennett 24, Ft. Dorchester 5.
For the Seahawks, Andrew Dill picked up the mound win.
Adam Orischak had three hits, Dill chipped in two hits and an RBI and Storm Grisholm went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
The Seahawks (10-1) play Richmond County in tonight's tournament nightcap at 7 p.m. Play begins at 10 a.m. as Corbin takes on Walhalla.
Bluffton 4, Fairport (N.Y.) 1: The Bobcats (11-1) scored four in the third inning, keyed by Jordyn Parker's leadoff triple and Kim Kirby's two-run double, and Courtney Smith hurled a complete game and struck out a season-high 16.
Fairport's run came on a single and a double in the fourth.
Bluffton, which moved into the Class 4-A coaches poll this week for the first time this season at No. 8, hosts Rush Henrietta at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Beaufort High: The Eagles went 1-1 in tournament play in Summerville, defeating Cross 18-0 before a 2-0 loss to Blythewood.
Against Cross, Maria Cook and Michelle Brown combined on a no-hitter for Beaufort High. They duo struck out 12.
Jessica Bennett went 3 for 3 and Cook added two hits to spark the Eagles offense.
Against Blythewood, losing pitcher Jenny Mullins struck out three.
Beaufort High resumes tournament play today against Travelers Rest.
Hilton Head Prep 7, St. Andrew's 2: Ryan Henderson scored two goals and had two assists, and Andrew Spencer scored twice, as well, to lead the Dolphins (5-5).
Teron Daley, Amit Kohli and Noah Sulek also scored. Mac Orie, Sulek, Daley, Will Peterkin and Archer Brooks also had assists.
Zenon Parker had nine saves in goal for Hilton Head Prep, which hosts Hilton Head Christian at 6 p.m. Tuesday.