Panthers have decent showing during HIT
The Pinewood Prep baseball team made it into bracket play for the annual Hanahan Invitational Tournament, but was pitted against one of the hottest teams in the tournament.
The Panthers opened the tournament with a 3-2 win over Saint Rita High of Illinois. Pinewood pitcher John McMicking only surrendered three hits and did not allow a single earned run in a complete-game effort.
“John battled on the mound,” Pinewood coach Phil Tobin said. “He gave us a performance that was better than I could have asked for. That team came out today and scored 10 runs against a good Ashley Ridge team so that shows the quality of pitching he gave us.”
Johnny O'Shaughnessy had the key hit that drove in two runs in the seventh inning.
“We showed something we haven't shown all season and that is the ability to come back late in a ball game,” Tobin said. “We had a couple of quality at bats near the end and put some base runners on and good things happen when you can do that. I was very pleased with our effort Monday and that was the kind of ball game we needed to play.”
On Tuesday the Panthers lost a tight game, falling 2-1 to Cox High of Virginia.
“That was a good baseball game against a good team,” Tobin said. “Their pitchers threw the ball well. They got first-pitch strikes and threw us off balance. We didn't put the ball in play enough and when you don't do that it is hard to score runs.”
Cox went up 2-0 early in the game, but Pinewood cut the lead in half in the fourth inning. Joel Roberts singled and moved to second on a passed ball. Then JD Waite singled to drive him in.
Waite, who has struggled with an injury this season, came into the game in relief and shut down the Cox batters in the final two innings. He fanned five batters while surrendering no hits and no walks.
Pinewood put runners on base in both the sixth and seventh innings but couldn't push them across. With two runners on base in the seventh, Hayden Heflin hit a shallow line drive just inside the right-field line. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Cox right fielder was playing up and over and caught the ball to end the game.
Because they only gave up four runs in their first two games, the Panthers had the opportunity to participate in bracket play for the tournament. But in quarterfinals Wednesday they faced Summerville, which outscored its opponents this week 49-9 to advance to Friday's tournament championship game.
Summerville defeated Pinewood 12-0. Freshman hurler Sawyer Bridges pitched a one-hitter, fanning six Panther batters in five innings before the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule. Bridges only walked two batters and hit one other with a pitch.
Roberts had the sole Panther hit.
It wasn't the ideal ending for Pinewood, but Tobin says he got what he wanted out of the tournament.
“You hope to play very close ball games against very good competition that will get you ready for your final stretch of the season,” he said. “Six of our last seven games are region games and I think this tournament showed us kind of where we stand and what we need to do to continue to get better.”
The Panthers have a 9-6 record and only one loss in their region. Waite's return to the pitching staff should make them a more complete team.
“Tuesday was the first time he has been on the mound this season and it was a big lift for our team,” Tobin said. “He threw the ball better than we expected and if we have him for this final stretch it will increase our chances.”
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or email@example.com