Just A Bit Outside 3/16
What an interesting couple of days, much less weeks, in the baseball world. Before I get to summing up the start of the high school regular season, I have to go on a little tangent, just like I did when the lockout was still going on with my recap of the Steve Sanders Tournament.
Here is my quickie tangent for you. Braves fans – don’t worry. I know it hurts to lose a good guy we have become so emotionally attached to over the last decade, but at the end of the day, Alex Anthopoulos made a heck of a deal for a first baseman that is 4 years younger and almost dead even with Freddie both offensively and defensively.
There is leverage there that will help the team in the long term rather than bogging the franchise down with a big contract for Freddie as he ages. Don’t get me wrong. I love Freddie. He is my favorite player & I’ll always pull for him (though if he goes to LA, I may like him a little less..) But, I also want the Braves to continue this run of success as long as they can. One thing I think we all can agree on is that we don’t want to have to endure the mediocrity of the late 2000s & early 2010s or another total rebuild any time soon.
So embrace Matt Olson & let’s enjoy being the World Champions for a little longer. Let’s celebrate what Freddie did for us, & realize there isn’t much more he can do here (he hit for the cycle twice, won NL MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glover, Hank Aaron Award winner, Babe Ruth Award winner, was a 5 time all star, the face of the franchise & clubhouse leader through a rebuild, & now forever a World Champion. The only other thing he could do is win a league batting title).
Sentimental value does not equate to actual value when it comes to business – particularly the business of sports. Liking someone is not enough to justify bogging down your books when you are operating on a budget. Sometimes, you have to make difficult decisions that are the best for your future. Freddie has no hard feelings about it, Anthopoulos was fighting tears just talking about having to do it, and we should not at all be upset enough to kill the enjoyment of our team, our championship, or the fact that there was other big baseball news this week – Baseball. Is. Back! The lockout is over! (Though I stick by what I said last time.. If you are upset enough to walk away from MLB, don’t abandon the game. The sport is more than MLB and there is plenty of great talent in local baseball to be seen whether it be high school, college, or American Legion ball this coming Summer).
Now for our regularly scheduled high school baseball recap.
Besides Braves fans complaining about Freddie Freeman leaving, death, and taxes, the one thing you can almost count on around here is inclement weather the first week of the high school baseball regular season. So naturally, it rained cats and dogs the entire week making for a lot of postponements. I will get around to listing those as well as the scores from the few games that were played shortly. But, first let’s go back one more week to the last set of preseason tournaments.
After going 3-0-1 and placing 5th in the Steve Sanders Tournament, Boiling Springs made their annual trek down to Georgetown for the International Paper Classic. The field for the IP Classic was as tough as ever with 5A state championship favorite AC Flora, Blythewood, Summerville, York, Berkeley, Georgetown, and Airport all vying for the prestige of being the IP Classic champion. Things did not get off to a favorable start for the Bulldogs, as they dropped their first 2 games with a 10-4 loss to Blythewood and an 8-3 L at the hands of AC Flora. Boiling Springs would go on to beat York 6-3 and Summerville 3-1 to finish 2-2 on the weekend, good enough for 3rd place.
Dorman traveled down to Lexington to play in the annual NaturChem Invitational against another loaded field that included River Bluff, Lexington, Brookland-Cayce, Wren, Eastside, Mauldin, and Bishop England. Things got off to an explosive start for the Cavaliers, as they won a 13-10 slugfest with Brookland-Cayce to open the tournament. They didn’t save enough runs for the next 2 games as Wren beat them 10-2 and the homestanding River Bluff Gators shut them out 10-0. The Cavs bounced back with a strong finish, beating Bishop England 9-2 to even up at 2-2 on the weekend & lock up 5th place.
Chesnee played in the Sandlapper Shootout down at Gilbert. Participants included Gilbert, Chapin, Dutch Fork, May River, Hanahan, Carolina Forest, West Ashley, Spring Valley, and Laurens. This young and talented Eagle team was up against a lot of stiff competition from higher classifications, and it definitely showed. Chesnee dropped their opening game 7-2 to Hanahan. Gilbert knocked them to 0-2 on the weekend with a 9-1 loss. They’d finish at 0-3 after Chapin beat them 12-3. But, I don’t think Chesnee went in with the expectation of winning it all, but rather to gain invaluable experience and ABs against bigger competition. To that end, it was a successful weekend and realistically, I do think Chesnee has the raw talent on this young team to have a strong year. You can never let a preseason tournament dictate how your season is going to go. It will almost always end up the opposite way.
Now let’s hop into the Delorean and go back to the future (ok.. That was bad. But I am gonna stand by it. I said it. It’s done. haha)
God decided to water the earth last week (good for us allergy sufferers, though) leading to the postponement of most of the week 1 games.
Byrnes was slated to open the regular season with a 2 game series against the Greenville Red Raiders Tuesday and Wednesday (the 8th and 9th). According to Rebel Head Coach Michael Maus, these 2 non-region games are merely postponed rather than canceled with a makeup game set for Monday, April the 18th.
Broome was set to take on Chesnee last Tuesday, but due to the weather they played at 8:00 PM this past Friday night in damp, chilly, and misty conditions. I had stated after the Steve Sanders Tournament that this Broome team can mash. Obviously, given the weather conditions, there wasn’t going to be a lot of knocking the ball to the power alleys. But, they revealed something new about themselves in that game. The Centurions can really beat you at the plate and on the basepaths. Broome started off the game using the conditions to their advantage with Braxtin Turner laying down a bunt in front of the plate and busting it up the line. Ethan Lawson, the Chesnee Catcher slipped in the wet grass and couldn’t get to the ball, allowing Turner a leadoff bunt single and that set the tone for the game. Jeb Dawson followed Turner’s bunt with a bunt single of his own that hugged the 3rd base line all the way up. From there, it was all about aggression on the base paths. The Centurions stole 6 bases, forced 4 Chesnee errors, and had 8 hits, en route to a 6-1 win.
Broome played again last night on the road at Landrum and once again, they showed another dominant side. They have a lot of depth at pitching. Meaning they can not only beat you with aggressive power and speed, but also on the mound. Landrum is a much younger team than they were a year ago, albeit still very talented. But they will be enduring some growing pains. They certainly endured a trial by fire similar to Chesnee’s run in the Sandlapper Shootout. In a way, Broome gabe the Cardinals a taste of their own medicine. Last year’s medicine, that is. In 2021, Landrum had a lot of success using strong pitching that kept opponents guessing as well as putting pressure on defenses to make plays with steals, bunts, and successful execution of the hit and run. That is what Broome did last night. It all started with Landrum starter Wes Shipman struggling with his command early. He fell behind 4 of his first 6 hitters and was, to put it short as possible, wild. Broome’s hitters didn’t mash the ball much all night, instead just putting the ball in play for singles and a couple of errors. They sent 9 men to the plate and plated 3 runs in the first inning, all on singles with a couple of steals, a walk and an HBP.
Broome went on to either send 9 to the plate or bat around 3 times, and touched Landrum’s pitchers for 21 runs on 16 hits (only 2 for extra bases including a grand slam in the 7th from Dalton Crawford). They held the talented young Cardinals lineup to 6 runs on 6 hits.
Of note on Landrum– they played twice last week, losing 12-5 to Whitmire on the road last Monday and 7-5 at home to Polk County Friday.
Chapman had a big week in spite of the weather. The Panthers were slated to play Spartanburg on Tuesday, but were postponed, opting to play a double header against the Vikings at Duncan Park on Friday since they already had a game scheduled there that night. The double header did not end up happening since these 2 incredibly talented teams ended up battling it out in a marathon type of game. It was an offensive slugfest, but Coach Steve Fusaro’s squad got the upper hand in extra innings, beating the Vikes 12-11. Chapman was also able to pick up a road win over Travelers Rest last Thursday, although I do not know the score (sometimes these high school scores are hard to find..).
Woodruff was able to play on Monday of last week, falling 5-1 at the hands of the Southside Christian Sabres.
Gaffney took on York last Monday, falling to the Cougars 13-5.
Union County saw their game postponed against Lewisville to this past Saturday, and sadly it also falls into that “scores Jordan can’t find” category. I will keep looking.
Boiling Springs was off last week. They will start their regular season tonight (March 15th) hosting the Eastside Eagles at 6:30. It will be a 2 game series with game 2 set for Wednesday at 6:30 in Taylors.
Rather than in paragraphs, here’s a quick look at the schedule for this week (and scores from Monday):
- Monday 3/14
Blue Ridge 5
- Tuesday 3/15
Boiling Springs 6:30
- Wednesday 3/16
Spartanburg PPD to Thursday
Woodruff PPD no makeup yet
Riverside PPD no makeup yet
Eastside PPD no makeup yet
- Thursday 3/17
Polk County 7:00
- Friday 3/18
Riverside 4:00 (Fluor Field)