Forgive Hilton Head Prep baseball coach Lew Kent if he's not jumping up and down. The Dolphins won Wednesday's home game against rival Hilton Head Christian Academy, 7-5, but despite the victory, Kent was concerned with how his team won.
The Dolphins (8-1) led 5-0 after two innings in a game that had all the makings of a rout early on. But the Eagles (1-3) hung around and the Dolphins made enough mistakes to assure they could.
Prep starter Tyler Fox allowed just one unearned run in four innings of work. But he was pulled before he could even qualify for the win.
"It was his first start of the year," Kent said. "He threw OK, but he wasn't in midseason form."
Kent said Fox, a sophomore, showed signs of wearing down at the end of last season, so the Dolphins used him in a closing role early this season. His pitch limit for his first start was 80.
"Unfortunately he reached it in the fourth inning," Kent said.
Reese Irwin came on in relief to get the win, though he surrendered four runs, three earned, in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Greg Warren pitched a scoreless seventh for the save.
And despite the Dolphins' seven runs, Kent wasn't happy with his team performed on offense either.
"We're not clicking. We've done enough to win some games and we won the game today," Kent said. "I'll give (Eagles pitcher Luke) Higgs credit, he threw OK. But we're not clicking."
Kent said it wasn't one thing the Dolphins struggled with, it was a bunch of little things. When asked how they could fix it, Kent said, "be sharp."
"I want them to have some longer at-bats, some good at-bats," Kent said. "I want them to know when to swing at a first pitch. They need to get good jumps. We were lethargic on the basepaths. We stole some bases but we got bad jumps. We got thrown out at third with two outs."
Senior first baseman Randy Young led the Dolphins with two hits, going 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Shortstop Brooks Robinson, a Hilton Head Island High transfer, was 1 for 4 with a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI. Catcher Kevin Campbell was 1 for 3 with an RBI triple, and second baseman Cem Caglayan was 1 for 3 with a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI.
For the Eagles, Higgs went the distance on the hill, surrendering seven runs, four earned in seven innings. His defense let him down with four errors.
At the plate, Higgs was 1 for 2 with two walks and two runs scored, while catcher Andy Ballard had two hits and a run scored. Senior first baseman Reese Dolyniuk got HHCA to within 7-5 with a two-run single with two outs in the sixth. But leaving nine runners on base came back to haunt the Eagles.
Hilton Head Christian coach Smittie Cooler said his team simply needs game experience.
"This is just our fourth game," Coller said. "We've not been able to play seven games. I've got an all-freshman outfield and a freshman third baseman. But we had our chances. We left guys on base and didn't get it done."