WINNSBORO — Richard Winn’s baseball season came to end Saturday when they fell to the Cavaliers of Calhoun Academy 11-1 in game three of SCISA’s second round of the state playoffs.
The Eagles forced a game three when they split with the Cavaliers on the road Friday afternoon.
Richard Winn was shutout in game one 7-0.
“We didn’t play very well in the first game,” Richard Winn head coach Al Berry said. “We knew Calhoun Academy is well coached.”
Calhoun Academy’s starting pitcher, Tucker McGee, tossed a gem. McGee didn’t allow any runs on just two hits, one walk and struck out five hitters. He fanned the last four batters he faced.
McGee only threw 70 pitches and took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning with one out. Richard Winn’s Elijah Tucker broke up the no-hitter when he jacked a double into the left-field corner.
The Eagles biggest scoring threat was in that sixth inning when they sent six batters to the plate. After Tucker’s double, Patrick Pope walked on four pitches and Matt Taylor poked a single through the right side of the infield to load the bases with one out.
The next two hitters went down in order and the Eagles left three runners stranded.
Austin Knox was hung with the loss in game one. In four and two-third innings, he allowed seven runs on eight hits, one walk and four strikeouts. He threw a total of 93 pitches, with 42 coming in the first inning. Knox got off to rough start, as the first six of seven Cavaliers were able to reach base.
Calhoun scored three runs off three hits, one walk and an error in that first inning. They also tacked on a run in the third and three more in the fifth.
RW 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0-2-3
CA 3 0 1 0 3 0 - — 7-8-0
RWA hitters: M. Taylor 1-3. E. Tucker 1-2 double.
WP: T. McGee.
LP: A. Knox.
Facing elimination, the Eagles showed their grit in game two and earned a 3-2 win to stay alive.
Berry was proud of his team’s effort to earn the split on the road after falling in game one.
“One of the biggest things I’ve enjoyed with coaching over the years is when teams have their backs against the wall and they fight back,” he stated after the game. “With their backs against the wall in a season ending situation they fought back on the road. When I see kids do that, its always fun for me as a coach.”
After just giving up two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game 2-2, Cameron Cooper came through for the Eagles in the top of the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single that plated Taylor as the go-ahead run.
“Our guys competed a lot better at the plate in the second game and Cooper got a big hit for us,” Berry said.
It was a bang-bang play at the plate as the throw came rifling in from right-field, but Taylor was able to leap out of the reach of the catcher’s tag.
“I think he (catcher) got caught off guard with our runner (Taylor) avoiding the tag and he was safe,” Berry said after the game. “He (Taylor) did the right thing because if he ran into the catcher, he could have been ejected. He has to everything he can to avoid the tag in high school baseball and he did a pretty good job there.”
Pope earned the win for the Eagles after throwing all seven innings allowing two runs on four hits, three walks and striking out seven.
He tossed a total of 89 pitches and faced more than five batters only once.
Pope’s best inning came when the Eagles needed it most, in the bottom of the seventh. He retired three batters in order on just seven pitches. He struck out the first batter and then induced two ground-balls to shortstop to end the game.
Although the Eagles could have lost momentum having just given up two runs in the previous inning and the game on the line, Berry saw something in his senior right hander and trusted him to finish the game.
“He’s a senior and Patrick (Pope) has played four years for me and I knew he deserved an opportunity to do that (stay in the game),” Berry stated.
RW 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 — 3-8-2
CA 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 — 2-4-2
RWA hitters: P. Pope 1-3, two runs and two RBI. M. Taylor 2-2, one run. A. Knox 2-3, one RBI. C. Cooper 1-4, one RBI.
WP: P. Pope.
LP: W. Rucker.
With the series tied 1-1, Richard Winn hosted Calhoun Academy on Saturday for a chance to appear in the state semi-finals.
Having used his top two pitchers in games one and two, Berry was confident heading into game three.
“I feel good about running different people (pitchers) out there if we have to,” Berry said before the start of the game. “As long as we’re throwing strikes and fielding we’ll be in the game.”
However, strikes and fielding did not happen for the Eagles as Richard Winn fell victim to five errors and seven base-on-balls as they lost 11-1 in seven innings.
Richard Winn used a total of four pitchers, but Cooper was hung with the loss. He threw three innings allowing four runs on three hits, four walks and three wild pitches.
The Eagles used back to back doubles to lead off the second inning and make the score 2-1, but that is as close as they would get. Calhoun went on to score nine unanswered runs with two coming in the third, three in the fourth and fifth and then one in the seventh.
Calhoun advanced to play either Dorchester Academy or Carolina Academy in the state semi-finals, which will be decided this week.
The state championship series will begin on May 12.
CA 2 0 2 3 3 0 1 — 11-9-1
RW 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1-4-5
RWA hitters: P. Pope 1-3. A. Knox 1-3, one walk. C. Cooper 1-2, double and one walk. E. Tucker 1-3, double and one RBI.
WP: R. Lewis.
LP: C. Cooper.