Hilton Head eliminates Summerville, reaches final of Dixie Boys district tournament

Hilton Head's Ian Foggo swings the bat during Friday's game against Summerville in the Dixie Boys baseball district tournament at Burton Wells Recreation Complex in Beaufort, S.C.
Hilton Head's Ian Foggo swings the bat during Friday's game against Summerville in the Dixie Boys baseball district tournament at Burton Wells Recreation Complex in Beaufort, S.C. Delayna Earley

Second baseman Nick Lucchesi dove to his right and caught the line drive just before it hit the ground, holding up his glove hand with the ball inside for all -- especially the umpire -- to see.

Out 3, game over. With the diving grab, Lucchesi closed the book on Hilton Head's 11-0, five-inning win over Summerville in the Dixie Boys District Tournament on Friday night at Burton Wells Recreation Center in Beaufort.

And it was only fitting, because two innings earlier Lucchesi had been the one to make the play that started Hilton Head (3-0) on the path to victory.

Hilton Head advances to play Beaufort in the championship at 3 p.m. Saturday. Hilton Head beat Beaufort 12-6 on Thursday.

With Hilton Head leading 2-0 in the top of the third, Summerville put runners on first and third with nobody out. Hilton Head's pitcher Ned Gilleland had thrown two scoreless innings but had been shaky.

Summerville third baseman Cody Jones smoked a line drive to the right side that for a moment looked like it would push across a run and continue the rally. Instead, the ball was snared from the air by Lucchesi and in the coming seconds, Summerville's fortunes would take a nosedive.

The runner on first was well off the base, just a few feet from Lucchesi. But instead of tagging the nearby runner, or even tossing the ball to first for the easy double play, Lucchesi instead fired across the diamond and caught the lead Summerville runner, who had strayed ever so slightly off third base, by the slimmest of margins.

The wind rushing from Summerville's sails was almost audible when the inning ended with an easy pop-up to right.

"It was huge," Hilton Head head coach Bill Shaw said. "That set the tone for the whole game. Right there. That was literally the turning point of the game, because we were flat."

Shaw said he's become accustomed to Lucchesi trying to make the big play.

"He's an all-or-nothing kid. He's thinking two, three steps ahead and he'll go for that play," Shaw said. "We sit there and talk about it. He says, 'Coach, I'll do it. As long as I think I've got a chance." It wasn't his best play, but he got it."

Hilton Head wasted no time piling on, busting out for five runs in the bottom of the inning as things simply unraveled for Summerville.

From that point on, Gilleland settled down on the mound and Summerville never mounted a serious threat.

"It wasn't our best pitching performance, but we did OK," Shaw said. "That's what we needed to do."

By the time Hilton Head added four more in the bottom of the fourth, the only remaining question was could Summerville push the game past five innings. Ultimately, the answer was no.

At the plate, Tad Zmarzly led the way again for Hilton Head.

After showing his dislike of a called third strike in the second inning, Zmarzly paused at the plate and drew a line in the dirt about a foot outside, where he thought the ball had passed, before making his way slowly to the dugout.

He didn't give the umpire a chance to decide his fate in his next two at-bats, crushing a double and a single, driving in three runs and scoring twice.

Ian Foggo doubled and scored twice and drove in a run, while Eric Foggo had an RBI double and scored. Lucchesi singled, walked and scored twice, and Gilleland had an RBI single with a run scored and a stolen base. Shane Clark singled and scored twice.

"We hit the ball well," Shaw said. "Let's just hope it continues (Saturday)."

Shaw said he's unsure who he'll start in the championship against Beaufort, which was moved from 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the hopes of missing bad weather. But the one thing he said he does know is that the game will be a tough one.

"We just got off to a fast start (Thursday), and then they came on late," Shaw said. "It's going to be a great ballgame. They matched us hit for hit. It's going to be a donnybrook."

Dixie Boys Baseball District Tournament

At Burton Wells Recreation Complex, Beaufort

Tournament Glance


Game 1: Beaufort 7, Summerville 4

Game 2: Hilton Head 12, Bluffton 2


All games postponed


Game 3: Beaufort 12, Hanahan 2

Game 4: Summerville 8, Bluffton 7, Bluffton eliminated


Game 5: Hilton Head 12, Beaufort 6

Game 6: Summerville 22, Hanahan 1, Hanahan eliminated


Game 7: Hilton Head 11, Summerville 0, Summerville eliminated


Game 8: Hilton Head vs. Beaufort, 3 p.m.