Friday, May 2, 2014
Wando baseball head coach Dirk Thomas knew he could count on his team's pitching and defense. It was the offense that would have to step up if the Warriors were to win in the playoffs.
Tied in the eighth inning on the road against Ashley Ridge Thursday, Noah LoCascio pelted a double into center field to score Oliver Hill for the go-ahead Wando run. The No. 3 seeded Warriors upset the top-seeded Swamp Foxes, 2-1, in the opening round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
Ashley Ridge entered the playoffs ranked No. 8 in Class AAAA in the S.C. Baseball Coaches Association polls. The Warriors were left out of the rankings. Wando (15-8) now travels to Dutch Fork Friday in the second round of the District VIII bracket. Dutch Fork defeated Carolina Forest, 6-3, Thursday in Irmo.
Wando junior right-hander Jeff Gottesman allowed Ashley Ridge one run off seven hits and three walks while striking out five over 6 2/3 innings. Harrison Smith entered in the seventh and gave up just one hit over the final 1 1/3 innings. With his team clinging to a one-run lead, Smith shut down Ashley Ridge in the bottom of the eighth, forcing a double play and a fly out to end the game.
Carson Walls battled with Gottesman throughout the night, allowing two runs off eight hits, no walks and striking out four in seven innings. Walls kept the Warriors contained as they left eight runners stranded, six in scoring position.
Josh Litchfield drove in Donnie Strum with a single to center in the third inning for the Swamp Foxes' only run of the game.
Owen Ravenel earned the run back in the next frame with a two-out double to left field to score Jack DeLongchamps.
Ashley Ridge left seven batters stranded, five in scoring position, through the next four innings. Jason Miller led off the bottom of the sixth with a double. Gottesman made a diving play off the mound to scoop a bunt attempt for the first out and struck out the second. Smith rose at shortstop to snag a line drive out of the air for the third out to stifle the Swamp Foxes.
Ashley Ridge had a walkoff in sight with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. But Smith forced a ground ball that Hill corralled to force extra innings.
Hill finished 2 for 3 with two doubles and a run scored, Ravenel hit 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI, and DeLongchamps 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Litchfield led Ashley Ridge, hitting 3 for 4 with an RBI, while Miller finished 2 for 4 with a double.
Frankie Mansfield, the sports reporter for the Moultrie News can be seen all around the state following teams to meets, games, and matches. For score updates, breaking sports news, and more follow @fjmansfield on Twitter and like Moultrie News Sports on Facebook.