SCISAA Class 3-A state championship: The Hilton Head Christian Academy boys tennis team ran up against perennial powerhouse Porter-Gaud on Friday in the SCISAA Class 3-A state championship match at Hammond School in Columbia, and it was the Cyclones who captured the crown -- but not without a serious battle.
Porter-Gaud needed to rally from first-set deficits in the last two doubles matches to pull out a 5-4 victory over the Eagles and win the state title after falling in the finals the previous two seasons.
The teams split their two regular-season matches. This was Hilton Head Christian's first appearance in the state finals, while Porter-Gaud was making its seventh trip in the last nine years.
"That experience for them was probably a bonus," Hilton Head Christian coach Eric Wammock said. "With this being our first time in the finals, we didn't have that experience. The boys responded well, but I think that was the difference there."
Hilton Head Christian (8-4) was leading 3-2 when Porter-Gaud junior Thomas Spratt notched his first win over Nick Bybel in four tries this season at No. 1 singles, winning in a tie-breaker.
The Eagles quickly won the No. 1 doubles match, but Porter-Gaud (14-2) was able to claim the title when its No. 2 and 3 doubles teams fought back from early deficits to win in straight sets.
Singles: No. 1 Thomas Spratt (PG) def. Nick Bybel 6-1, 2-6, 10-7; No. 2 Hampton Drake (HHCA) def. Junior Duarte 6-3, 6-4; No. 3 Charlie Drake (HHCA) def. Hunter Mitchell 6-4, 6-1; No. 4 Seth Pinosky (PG) def. Sam Trimble 6-1, 6-0; No. 5 Ben Likins (HHCA) def. Payne Hoy 6-1, 6-1; No. 6 Connor Grady (PG) def. Alex Likins 6-4, 6-3
Doubles: No. 1 Bybel/H. Drake (HHCA) def. Duarte/Mitchell 6-1, 6-1; No. 2 Spratt/Hoy (PG) def. C. Drake/Trimble 7-5, 6-2; No. 3 Pinsky/Grady (PG) def. B. Likins/John Ziegler 7-5, 6-0
Hilton Head Island High 6, Socastee 4 (8 innings): Whitney Halley went the distance for the win, and also went 2 for 5 with a pair of RBIs to help keep the Seahawks' season alive in the double-elimination District VIII tournament. It was the Seahawks' first postseason win since 2001.
The Seahawks took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but Socastee came back to tie it.
In the top of the eighth inning, Hilton Head High (11-7) put a couple of runners on with walks to start the winning rally. Halley drove in one run with a sacrifice fly, and catcher Aileen Moore followed with an RBI single to add some cushion. Halley then set down Socastee in order in the bottom of the inning to finish it.
Moore -- who is batting over .600 for the season -- was 4 for 5 with a triple and three RBIs.
Hilton Head High -- now 3-0 in extra-inning games this season -- will play on the road Monday against either St. James or Berkeley.
St. James 4, Hilton Head Island High 1: Anders DeShields tossed a complete-game two-hitter to help the top-seeded Sharks defeat the Seahawks in the winners' bracket of the Class 3-A District VIII tournament.
Hilton Head High (18-6) got a two-out RBI single from Storm Grisham in the first inning, but that was the extent of the visitors' offense.
Cameron Stoltz took the loss for the Seahawks, who will host a game Monday night against either North Myrtle Beach or Bluffton. Monday's winner will advance to the district final against St. James.
Hilton Head Island High 1, Battery Creek 0: Chris MacMurray scored early in the second half, and the Seahawks held off the Dolphins to secure the Region 7-AAA championship.
Miguel Mejia made 16 saves for Battery Creek (11-4-1 overall, 5-3 region), which has secured a postseason spot. The Dolphins play a non-region match at Wade Hampton on Tuesday in their regular-season finale.
Hilton Head High (11-3) plays at Bluffton at 7 p.m. Tuesday. If the Seahawks win, Battery Creek would get Region 7's No. 2 seed for the playoffs.
Beaufort High 2, Summerville 0: Kieran Kelly and Hector Lopez scored goals to propel the visiting Eagles.
Goalkeeper Mack Stansell started for Beaufort High (6-6, 3-3).
The Eagles next host Fort Dorchester on Monday.
JV: Hilton Head High 8, Battery Creek 0
Ashley Hall 2, Hilton Head Prep 0: Ashley Hall scored twice in the second half to put away the Dolphins.
Hilton Head Prep (8-6 overall, 5-5 SCISAA Region 3-AAA) now prepares for Tuesday's showdown with Hilton Head Christian Academy. The Dolphins host HHCA in a 4 p.m. match that guarantees the winner a spot in the SCISAA playoffs.