Friday, March 14, 2014
The Green Wave baseball team held its own last weekend against some of the top teams in the state.
Summerville fought the state’s top-ranked Class AAAA team to 6-6 tie and defeated another Top 5 team during the International Paper Baseball Classic tournament held in Georgetown. The Green Wave placed second in the prestigious preseason tournament.
“We aren’t satisfied because we didn’t win it, but overall I’m proud of the team,” Summerville coach Alan Bridges said. “We went two and out in the playoffs last year so we weren’t sure if this group knew how to win the big games until now. The kids are beginning to think they are a top-tier team in the state. Our pitching was great except for one inning in the championship game and our defense was sound.”
With Charlie Fessler, Billy Peatross, Matty Powell, Johnston McCurry and TJ Hopkins leading the way, Summerville also had a strong showing at the plate.
Summerville opened the tournament with a game against Sumter, the top-ranked 4-A team in the preseason coaches’ poll. Cold, wet weather and damp field conditions caused tournament officials to shorten games to 5 innings, even in the case of a tie. Summerville and Sumter finished their game knotted at 6-6.
The game started with two seniors on the hill, Sumter lefty and Clemson commit Charlie Barnes and Summerville righty and Spartanburg Methodist commit Zach Mosay.
Sumter jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Summerville bounced backed in the third with a two-out RBI single by Fessler. Sumter added a run in the bottom of the frame, but sophomore Sawyer Bridges got things started for the Green Wave in the top of fourth with a single. Hopkins walked and McCurry had a single to load the bases. Mosay walked to make it 4-2 and then Powell delivered a two-out double to tie the game.
Sumter responded with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-4 lead, but it didn’t hold long.
The next inning, Peatross, Bridges and Andrew Kenney reached to load the bases for Hopkins and the lead-off hitter singled in Peatross. McCurry followed with a sac fly to tie the game and Summerville held Sumter scoreless in bottom of the frame.
“I’m proud of the way they played against Sumter,” Bridges said. “We got behind but battled back. Even though it wasn’t a win, it gave us some confidence. We told them going in that if they could play with Sumter they could play with anyone.”
Summerville earned a 5-0 victory over Conway in its first of two games Saturday. Bridges struck out five batters en route to a two-hit shutout.
Summerville scored 3 runs in the first, two of which came off a single by Fessler. Mosay had an RBI single in the second and Peatross led off the third with a double and scored on a single by McCurry for the 5-0 margin.
That set the stage for a 5-1 win over Dorman, which is ranked fourth in the coaches’ poll and second among 4A teams in the state in another preseason poll.
“We came in on a roll against Dorman and just played our butts off,” Bridges said. “Wilson Beattie threw the best game I’ve seen from a sophomore in some time and he had never pitched a game on the varsity level. Everything went right and we played great defense.”
Hopkins led the bottom of the first with a single. McCurry followed with a double. Mosay and Fessler then both singled to drive in a run each for a 2-0 Green Wave lead.
In the third, Powell, Peatross and Kyle Smith reached to set up a bases-loaded walk to Bridges. Beattie followed with an RBI single for a 4-0 Summerville lead.
Hopkins reached on a single in the fourth and then stole two bases to set up Summerville’s final run. McCurry drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
Dorman scored a run in the fifth but couldn’t pull any closer. Beatie only gave up three hits. He fanned one batter.
On Sunday, Summerville played the state’s top ranked 3A team in the championship game. Two-time defending state champion AC Flora earned a 5-2 victory to take home the first-place trophy.
Fessler started on the mound and surrendered only one hit and no runs while fanning five batters before being relieved in the fifth.
The pitcher scored on an error in the second and Powell scored on a sacrifice fly by Peatross in the fourth for a 2-0 lead that Summerville took into the sixth inning. Then AC Flora scored 5 runs off two hits. Summerville hit two batters and yielded three base on balls. USC commit Madison Stokes had a base clearing double for AC Flora that sealed the Wave’s fate.
“Even in the championship game we played good defense,” Bridges said. “AC Flora is a team that likes to bunt and run but we shut that game down. We just didn’t finish the job on the mound.”