Byrnes Takes Game 2 of Series with Dorman
The Cavaliers and Rebels took their annual tussle to Lyman on Wednesday night. With the home field advantage and a huge crowd on hand for D5 Youth night, the Rebels had a chance to change the narrative of how this rivalry series has gone over the better part of the last decade.
Dorman has won each of the last 6 series over the Rebels, and have swept half of those, including last year. The Rebels have won just 1 meeting in the last 6 years, salvaging the finale in 2021 on the road at Dorman for what was their first win over the Cavaliers in 4 years.
I won’t ease into it by telling the game story first. I will go ahead and ease the tension by telling you – Taylor Hollifield’s Byrnes squad did manage to flip the script and rewrite the narrative. They also set things up to where they can still be in the hunt for the region championship as we hit the home stretch – a feat that a week ago, this young team would not have dreamed was possible after having been swept by Boiling Springs.
Now for the game story.
The pitching matchup was one of intrigue. Dorman sent Sophomore Jackson Wyatt to the mound, who has had his ups and downs this season, but in the one outing I have seen from him, he managed to limit Boiling Springs to 2 runs despite 7 hits, aiding in keeping the Cavaliers in the game and ultimately winning it. Byrnes countered with Kadan Roach, who in his last outing also held Boiling Springs to 2 runs, but was unable to get any help from his offense thanks to a dominant effort from his mound opponent Kyle Dill.
Needless to say, runs seemed like they would be at a premium, and to win this game would require jumping out to an early lead. Following a quick 3 up 3 down top of the 1st with 2 strikeouts from Roach, that is exactly what the Rebels did.
Center Fielder Nic Degler kick-started with a leadoff single in the bottom of the 1st. Just 4 pitches later, 2nd Baseman Jaxson Camp split the gap in right center and it rolled all the way to the fence for an RBI triple to give Byrnes the early lead. They would add on with 1 out when 1st Baseman Payne Sheriff grounded out to the shortstop to plate Camp, giving the Rebels all the runs they needed to get the win.
Byrnes added a run in the 3rd when Kadan Roach helped his own case with a 2 out RBI single, and another in the 5th following another Nic Degler leadoff base hit and a Jaxson Camp RBI extra base knock – this one a double.
The real storyline in this game was the performance of Kadan Roach. The Byrnes hurler carried a no hitter into the 7th inning, broken up by – you guessed it – a bloop single into the “Bermuda Triangle” in right field that may have been lost in the lights for a split second.. The typical weird play/mistake that tends to kill a no-hit bid.
Nonetheless, the hit became a runner left on – one of 4 base runners Roach allowed – the other 3 via walks, that ended up in the LOB stat category. In the end, Kadan’s complete game shutout with 8 strikeouts helped Byrnes to secure the 4-0 win and a huge series victory.
Roach’s effort was complemented by a perfect 3 for 3 night at the plate for Jaxson Camp with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Nic Degler was 2 for 3 with a pair of runs scored. Kadan Roach also helped himself with an RBI on a 1-2 effort.
The series may be won, but don’t be mistaken – Friday night’s game 3 is still of crucial importance for both teams. The way the region standings are shaking out right now, for Byrnes, who is currently 4-3 to have a shot at the region championship, they need to win out in their remaining 5 region games (that includes Friday as well as their 3 game set with Gaffney and rain-postponed series finale with Spartanburg coming on April 12th).
With Wednesday’s loss, Dorman has fallen to 2-3 in region play, with 7 games left to play (the finale, Gaffney, and the rivalry series with Spartanburg). Plenty of time to make up ground on both Byrnes and the region-leading Boiling Springs Bulldogs (6-2 in 2-5A), but should they win out, they would be throwing a wrench into things and creating a complicated scenario.
In essence, if Boiling Springs completes the sweep of Gaffney Friday night and then sweeps Spartanburg in their final region series, they are the champions outright. But, should they lose a game and Byrnes win out, it creates a tie, but with the head to head sweep, Boiling Springs would still claim the crown. If the Bulldogs drop a game and Dorman wins out (meaning they manage to salvage the finale with the Rebs on Friday), they would be the ones tied at the top, and with the head to head advantage, the Cavaliers would be region champions.
What Byrnes did in winning this series puts the ball in their court for at least locking up the 2 seed in the region, but their hopes of winning it all lie in first completing the sweep of Dorman Friday. If they do that, they will still need to take care of business from here out and hope that Boiling Springs drops 2 of their next 4, whether in losing the finale to Gaffney and 1 to Spartanburg or dropping 2 of 3 to the Vikings.
The all-too-crucial game 3 showdown will start Friday night at Ronnie J Sims Field in Roebuck with first pitch set for 6:30 PM.