Monday, May 12, 2014
Sumter escaped Wando, 2-1, in the AAAA Lower State playoffs Monday at Warrior Field in Mount Pleasant.
No. 1 Sumter (25-2-1) advances into Friday’s Lower State title game and will face the winner of Wednesday’s Wando-West Ashley elimination game.
Senior right-hander Phillip Watcher struck out 13 batters and scattered 10 hits with no walks over seven innings in the Gamecocks win. Watcher went inning for inning with Warriors senior Tyler Kimbrell who allowed just two hits and two walks with five strikeouts through seven.
“It was a battle out there tonight,” Sumter head coach Brooks Shumake said. “(Watcher) pitched his heart out for us and we were fortunate enough to scratch across two runs for him.”
Charlie Barnes put Sumter on top in the fourth with a sacrifice RBI to score Javon Martin.
Trevor Pedersen answered for Wando (18-9) in the bottom frame with a single into left field to drive in Gervais DuPre.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Jordan Holladay moved to third on a wild pitch. Three pitches later, Holiday stole home on another wild pitch for the go-ahead Gamecocks run.
“In a game like this, it’s critical to be fundamentally sound to force something to happen,” Shumake said. “There’s a lot of strategy to try to push one across in a game this close. That’s normally what it’s going to come down to this deep in the playoffs.”
Pedersen tripled into right field with two outs in the sixth. He came inches from tying the game, nearly stealing home in a tight play at the plate. In the top of the seventh, Pedersen gunned down a runner from center field to home for the third out to keep the Warriors alive.
Watcher sealed the win with one of his best innings of the night, forcing a groundout, and back-to-back strikeouts in the seventh.
Holladay and Watcher picked up Sumter’s only hits of the night, both hitting 1 for 2. Holladay added a run scored and Watcher a walk.
Tyler Ackard hit 3 for 4 for the Warriors, along with Pedersen who finished 3 for 4 with an RBI. Wando hit .333 as a team but left nine runners stranded. The Warriors put two on with no outs in the first and left the bases loaded in the third and fourth.
“All night we put guys in scoring position and just couldn’t find that big hit,” Wando head coach Dirk Thomas said. “It’s a shame to lose that way, but it was just a well-played game. This is what high school baseball is all about. Good pitching, great plays, crowd was into it. We made the game of baseball proud tonight, both teams.”
Wando won at West Ashley, 5-3, May 10 in the Lower State opener.