Just A Bit Outside 4-22
A week and a half. That is all that stands between me and being able to channel my inner Jim Mora again. That’s right. The regular season is nearly over. Last week set us up for some insane finishing scenarios in the regions we cover to help us stay glued to the standings and keep me working overtime to make sense of them all. Now that we are halfway through this week, the region standings are clearing up some more while some of the scenarios became less crazy and more pressure packed for a couple of local teams. So, without further ado, let’s dive on in. The craziest thing about it is that the most important series this week have yet to be played… So without further ado, let’s dive right on in.
First off, here are the scores so far from this week:
Wet fields 4
Baseball games 0
(3 Ws in a row for the Jackets!)
Wade Hampton 0
Fort Mill 2
Boiling Springs 0
St. Joe’s 1 (Significant because it this series will play a huge role in determining 2-2A’s finishing order. More on that in a bit).
Boiling Springs 7
Fort Mill 1
Wade Hampton 4
Spartanburg 5 (making for an interesting finishing range in the region for the Vikings).
St Joe’s 13
Blacksburg 1 F/5 innings
Now for the region standings/scenario talk. Last night, 2 of the region championships were clinched.
- Clover clinched region 3-5A with their win over Gaffney. Their region record stands at 8-2 with 2 more region games still to play in the series with the Indians this week. Game 2 is Wednesday night at Gaffney and the finale will be Friday at Clover.
Speaking of Gaffney, the Indians are still in the hunt for the 4th playoff spot from the region. Currently they sit in 4th, but they have a tough task ahead. They have to avoid being swept by Clover and then take care of business against Fort Mill next week. If Gaffney gets swept, Fort Mill’s win over Boiling Springs last night will put the Yellow Jackets in 4th. If Gaffney manages to take at least 1 from Clover, they will control their destiny, needing to win or sweep the series with Fort Mill next week, regardless of how it plays out between FM and Boiling Springs. A little help from the Bulldogs will go a long way.
Boiling Springs is still in good position to finish 2nd. The Bulldogs are in 2nd now with a 5-3 region record with a rubber game still to be played with Fort Mill Friday. If the Dogs win the series with them, they will face Nation Ford next week with a 2 game cushion, needing only to avoid being swept. If they drop the series finale to Fort Mill, the Bulldogs still need to win just 1 in the final series of the season with Nation Ford to lock up the 2 seed.
- Eastside wrapped up Region 2-4A with a 6-3 win over Laurens in that series opener. They will face off one more time on Friday at 6:00. But hold on.. Greer has entered the chat. The Jackets are on a 3 game winning streak after beating Greenwood for the first time in school history. That puts them in a position to where if they can extend the streak one more game and sweep the Eagles, they will take over the 4th spot in the region and thus be in the playoffs. Greer and Greenwood square off on the road in the series finale on Friday at 6:30.
Now for the crazier regions, starting with 3-3A.
The Chapman Panthers entered the week 2 games back from Clinton with a region record of 6-2 after splitting with Broome last week. This week, they are getting a little help for their cause to try and force a tie for the #1 seed. Clinton has completed their region slate of games, playing just non region opponents for the last 2 weeks. The Panthers have just this week left in their region schedule, and they are finishing it off with the Union County Yellow Jackets, whom they already took game 1 from on Tuesday. The scenario for Chapman is very simple. Win.
Ok… Maybe that was a little too simple… The only way Chapman can have a shot at winning region 3-3A is to sweep Union. Thus, the Panthers must win on Friday night. If they don’t Clinton is the region champion. If they do complete the sweep, there will be a 1 game playoff for the top seed which will be played at a neutral site (likely Woodruff, according to my sources) next week.
The Broome Centurions are still lurking in the shadows looking to make like one of their base runners and swipe 2nd. They stand just a game back from Chapman with a favorable opponent this week to keep themselves in position. The Centurions are taking on Woodruff in their final region series of the season, and they have already taken game one by a final of 4-3 on Tuesday. The series finale is Friday night at Woodruff. A Chapman loss to Union paired with a sweep on Friday night for Broome woud leave them tied for 2nd place. In the event of a tie, according to Broome head coach Ben Waddle, there would be a single game playoff to be on played at a neutral site (likely Woodruff) on Monday or Tuesday of next week.
In region 2-5A, Dorman is the rooster in the hen house. They are the team to beat. But who exactly is chasing them down right now is what remains one of the biggest mysteries. Midway through last week, the Cavaliers were in 3rd in the region, 3 games behind Byrnes. The series went lopsided really quickly for the Rebels, and Spartanburg was in a tournament last week, which meant the door was open for Dorman to sneak their way to the top. The Cavs swept Byrnes to take a 1 game lead over Spartanburg with a 5-1 region record.
Spartanburg had a slip up this week that has costed them not only ground on Dorman, but possibly crucial seeding. The Vikings had a 4-1 record in region prior to this week, but as of last night, they dropped the series with the Riverside Warriors, putting them at 4-3, 3 games out of 1st and 2 games back from Riverside in 3rd. The Vikings must avoid getting swept Friday night to avoid dropping to 4-4 into a tie with Byrnes. If they do avoid the sweep, they will have to sweep Dorman in the City Rivalry Series to still have any shot. It is worth noting that Spartanburg and Byrnes have a makeup game to play against each other since the rubber game of their series originally scheduled back on March 18th was rained out. If the Vikings overcome the long odds to sweep Dorman and take the series from Byrnes, they will finish on top. If they don’t sweep Dorman they can finish anywhere from 2nd to 4th. It all depends on whether or not they get swept.
Byrnes needs a lot of help to improve their seeding and they have to take care of business with their final region series of the season with Wade Hampton just to ensure they at least finish 4th to make the playoffs. They sit at 4-4 a game behind Spartanburg, who they, again, play in a makeup game next Saturday. A sweep of Wade Hampton and a win over the Vikings puts them at 8-4, and depending on how Dorman-Spartanburg plays out next week, they could also finish anywhere from 2nd to 4th. But they have to take care of business against Wade Hampton or they could potentially miss the playoffs entirely.
And now, we save the best for last. By best, I mean the biggest headache to sort out. Anybody have any tylenol?
Region 2-2A had 10 different scenarios for how it could go down for its 4 playoff teams. Luckily, now that Blacksburg and St Joseph’s have split, it narrowed it down significantly. Now there are just 4 ways this could go down. I’ll just bullet point them real quick. (Note: St. Joe’s has a makeup region game still to be played this Tuesday with Greer Middle College)
- If Landrum sweeps Chesnee and SJ beats Greer Middle College:
Landrum would play a neutral site 1 game playoff for the top spot in the region with St. Joe’s next week with date and location to be determined.
- If Landrum and Chesnee split and St. Joe’s beats GMC:
I am not usually one for automatically assuming a win for a team against a struggling opponent when it comes down to crunch time like this. But, in this case, I am fully confident that this scenario is the most likely to occur. St. Joe’s would win it outright. Landrum would play a neutral site 1 game playoff with Blacksburg for the #2 seed with the date and site yet to be determined.
- If Landrum sweeps Chesnee and St. Joe’s loses to GMC:
Landrum would win it outright and Blacksburg and St. Joe’s would square off in a 1 game neutral site playoff for the #2 seed with date and site TBD.
- If Landrum and Chesnee split and St. Joe’s loses to GMC:
THIS IS THE LEAST LIKELY SCENARIO. Not a knock on Greer Middle College. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. But, this St. Joe’s lineup is stacked and it will take the pitching performance of a lifetime to slow them down and upset them right now. They are hot at the plate. But, if this came to fruition, the 3-way tie would likely (according to conversations with coaches) be broken by difference in runs given up in region play. As of right now, Landrum has surrendered the least runs in region play with 25. Blacksburg is 2nd having given up 32. St. Joe’s would be the odd man out, as they have given up 41. Thus, Landrum would play Blacksburg in a neutral site 1 game playoff and St. Joe’s would be 3rd.
Good thing that scenario is least likely. That’s too much math for this writer’s taste..
So there you have it. This is shaping up for 1 crazy final week and I am here for it. Partially because I have to be.. But mostly because I am loving the drama and following all the baseball.
Here is the remaining schedule for this week and what is ahead next week:
Greer at Greenwood 6:30
Gaffney at Clover 6:30
Boiling Springs at Fort Mill 6:30
Wade Hampton at Dorman 6:30
Spartanburg at Riverside 6:30
Broome at Woodruff 7:45
Union at Chapman 7:45
Landrum at Chesnee 7:30
Byrnes/Wade Hampton Mon, Wed, Fri
Gaffney/Fort Mill Mon, Wed, Fri
Dorman/Spartanburg Mon, Wed, Fri
Boiling Springs/Nation Ford Mon, Wed, Fri
Greer at Palmetto Mon 6:30
Daniel/Greer Tue, Fri
Broome at Blue Ridge Tue/Fri 7:30
Broome at Chesnee Wed 8:00
TR at Chapman Mon 7:45
Chapman at Blacksburg Tue 7:30
Chesnee at Chapman Thu 7:45
Union at Lancaster Mon 7:30
Chester at Union Tue 7:00
Whitmire at Landrum Tue 7:00
Ware Shoals at Landrum Wed 6:00
TR at Landrum Thu 7:30
The season is winding down! Join me in coming out to see some great baseball as the playoff contenders and region contenders duke it out to the finish line this week. If you can’t make it out, tune in to the show Sunday afternoon immediately following the Gamecock baseball postgame wrap and I will keep you in the loop about what is happening.