Battery Creek coach Dan Tooman yelled for his outfielders to take a few extra steps back. Dolphins pitcher Joe Fields did not think that was enough. He turned to his right fielder and shaded him more toward the foul line.
Beaufort High School lefty Kyle Dawson was at the plate. He had doubled his previous three appearances.
Dawson noticed the changes, filed them away as a little extra incentive and launched a home run to right-center. His big night helped the Eagles bash their way to a season-opening 23-12 victory over rival Battery Creek at the Lowcountry Invitational.
"This year I just changed my philosophy to be aggressive, swing at the first pitch," said Dawson, who drove in seven runs. "Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. So far this year, it's been productive."
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The host Eagles play Hilton Head High tonight. The tournament stretches into next week, when the champion will be determined by win percentage.
Beaufort High (1-0) out-lasted its rival in what was a more competitive game than the last time the teams met. Before Dawson provided the cushion, Battery Creek (0-1) had shown life. After falling behind 8-0 early, the Dolphins grabbed the lead with a nine-run second.
But the Eagles' bats were bigger. They overcame some early pitching troubles and struggles in the field to win a game that dragged along.
"If we have to depend on our bats all year, it's going to be a long year," Eagles assistant coach Scott Rast said. "I think they learned a valuable lesson."
The Eagles received a jump-start when Mitchell Stewart took the mound with an out in the fourth. Stewart popped his catcher's mitt, energizing the crowd and his bench. He struck out eight.
"I had to get the team up a little bit," Stewart said. "Something had to happen."
Tooman was hesitant to point to just Dawson as having given his pitchers trouble. He pointed to the Eagles' covered batting cages, saying Beaufort High hitters never took a day off practice.
But he said he was proud of the way the Dolphins hit the ball, that they compiled more hits than they had in previous meetings with Beaufort High.
"Obviously, we didn't hit the ball as hard as they did," Tooman said.
Beaufort High 441 326 3 -- 23 20 3
Battery Creek 090 120 0 -- 12 8 9
WP: Tony Nolan (1-0) 2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K
LP: Shane Goude (0-1) 3 2-3 IP
Top hitters: Battery Creek -- Thomas Smith 2 for 3, BB. Beaufort High -- Kyle Dawson 5 for 5, 4 2B, HR, 7 RBI; Beau Brown 4 for 6, HR, 3 RBI.
Friday's other score
Colleton County 7, Wade Hampton 2
Battery Creek vs. Branchville, 11 a.m.
Branchville vs. Bluffton, 1:30 p.m.
Bluffton vs. Wade Hampton, 4 p.m.
Hilton Head High vs. Beaufort High, 6:30 p.m.