High School Sports

Bobcats, Seahawks hit the road for tough playoff openers

It's not one and done, but in most cases, it might as well be.

The S.C. High School League baseball postseason begins today, and although it's a double-elimination tournament, experience has taught area coaches there is one key to advancing -- win the first one.

"It's really tough to come out of your district if you don't get that first one," Hilton Head High coach Chris Wells said. "You really want to win the first two, because if you don't, that just increases the challenge."

Hilton Head High and Bluffton High School will try to take that first step on the road tonight, but both schools will have to climb tall hurdles in the Class 3-A playoffs.

The Seahawks will travel to Hartsville tonight and take on the state's second-ranked team in Class 3-A. The Bobcats will play at Darlington, which is No. 6 in Class 3-A.

Hilton Head High will take some momentum into the district tournament, having won nine of its past 11 games. The Seahawks expect to face Hartsville ace Cody Mincey, who Wells said is a three-pitch right-hander who throws in the upper 80s. Hilton Head High (16-7), which finished third in Region 7-AAA, will counter with its ace, Cameron Stoltz, who leads a deep Seahawks staff that includes four quality starters.

The Seahawks have also hit the ball well lately -- seven of the team's nine regulars are hitting .300 or better.

"I like the way we've played the last few weeks of the season," Wells said. "... If we play quality baseball for seven innings, I like our chances."

The Bobcats (13-11), fourth-place finishers in the region, plan to rest ace Ryan Ward for the opener tonight and instead go with Jake Martin, a primarily offspeed pitcher.

Bobcats coach Bryant Kitty hopes Martin can silence a lineup full of big hitters.

"From what we gather, they're fast, they're big, and they're even physical," Kitty said. "It's almost like we're getting ready for a football game based on the scouting reports I've received."

The Bobcats have lost two straight entering tonight's playoff matchup.


Class 3-A: Hilton Head High at Hartsville, 6:30 p.m.

Class 3-A: Bluffton at Darlington, 6:30 p.m.

Class 1-A: Whale Branch at Military Magnet, 6 p.m..