Byrnes Wins Series over Dorman
This time last week, the Byrnes Rebels had just been swept by the Boiling Springs Bulldogs to drop to 2-3 in region 2-5A. After such an occurrence, for a young team like Byrnes, it would be easy for it to go to their heads and cause them to go into a mental slump. That is where good coaching and motivation come to the forefront. It is hard to say that getting swept by a region rival is a good thing or that it is the best thing that could have happened when we don’t see the big picture. But, clearly first year head coach Taylor Hollified did not let his young bunch asphyxiate themselves on the circumstances and or the raw emotion of what happened last week.
Hollifield and his staff huddled his team together for a long time after the final out was recorded in the series finale against the Bulldogs before sending them to take care of post-game field maintenance. It may never be known exactly what he told them, but one thing is certain – it worked.
The Rebels bounced back in the best way possible – first by going on the road and opening the series against Dorman – an opponent they have not had much success with for over half a decade – with a 6-4 win, and then following that up by flipping the script and winning the series at home Wednesday night with a dominant 4-0 shutout.
While winning the series was a statement in itself, there is little doubt that Byrnes entered the finale on Friday night hungry to take that statement and turn it into more of a manifesto. But, they were not the only ones hungry.
For Dorman, this game was a mark of desperation. The Cavaliers found themselves at 2-3 in the region after dropping game 2, needing to salvage the finale in order to keep their best path open to a shot at the region championship.
In essence, the game had a playoff type of importance on top of a postseason feel, and it lived up to it down the very last out.
Things got off to a good start for the Cavaliers. Brycen Plexico got the start on the hill, and retired the Rebels top 3 hitters in order in the top of the 1st – a feat that had not been accomplished in the first 2 games. In the home half of the frame, Palmer Hornick and Mitch Wilson reached back to back on a walk and a hit by pitch. With 2 out, Chas Welch singled to load the bases for Catcher Josh Browne, who drew a walk to score the game’s first run. Unfortunately, they would end up leaving the sacks full, but still got the early lead.
That 1-0 lead lasted until the top of the 3rd inning. With 1 out, Jaxson Camp doubled. The Rebels cashed in on it when Payne Sheriff grounded to Dorman Shortstop Colten Earnhardt, who could not come up with it cleanly and double clutched, throwing a lawn dart to first for an error that allowed Camp to come home unearned, tying the game at 2 heading to the bottom of the inning.
Fast forward to the top of the 4th.. With this being a playoff caliber game with big implications that Dorman could not afford to lose, they made a postseason type managerial decision and brought in their ace Bray Parton to relieve Brycen Plexico. Parton put out a postseason type of pitching performance in the 2 innings he worked, surrendering just 1 hit with a strikeout.
While Parton was mowing down the Rebels, Dorman’s offense struck for 2 runs – one in each the 4th and 5th inning. In the bottom of the 4th, Colten Earnhardt drew a walk with 2 away. He tok 2nd on a balk and came around to score on a single from Clay Crossley. Chas Welch added on with a solo home run out of left field in the bottom of the 5th with 2 out, giving the Cavs a 3-1 lead heading to the 6th.
Mitch Wilson came on to pitch for Dorman in the 6th inning, and managed to get in a groove with a pair of K’s in a scoreless frame. Things started off ideally in the 7th, when he got a quick strikeout of Byrnes Catcher Jake Short. Following a 1 out single from Brayden Price, Wilson got Nic Degler swinging and was an out away from a win and salvaging the finale.
Here comes the difference between this week and last – the Rebels just never quit. They fought relentlessly down to their last strike. Jaxson Camp delivered a 2 out RBI single to cut the deficit down to 1. That double was the first of a string of 4 consecutive hits Byrnes put together to rally for the lead and ultimately leading to Mitch Wilson taking the loss.
Connor Crenshaw doubled home Camp to tie it, and then Payne Sheriff singled to score Crenshaw for a 4-3 lead. Kadan Roach also singled, but ultimately, he and Sheriff were left on after Aaron Sturgill came in and got Noah McGarity to ground out to 3rd to end the rally.
Cole Confer, who entered in relief of Byrnes starter Connor Crenshaw after 5 innings, allowed just 2 base runners over the final 2 innings, one on a base hit with 1 out in the 6th and a walk with 2 down in the 7th. But, in the end, both runners were left in scoring position, and Confer earned the win in relief as the Rebels completed the sweep with a 4-3 win, keeping their region championship hopes intact, while creating a mountain for the Cavaliers to climb.
Boiling Springs, by way of their sweep of Gaffney this week, sits in the driver’s seat in the region with a 7-2 region record. Byrnes now sits at 5-3 while Dorman dropped to 2-4, putting them in 4th place behind Spartanburg, who was out of region this week.
On top of Confer’s efforts, the Rebels were led once again by Jaxson Camp, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Connor Crenshaw and Payne Sheriff tallied an RBI each, both going 1-4 at the dish. Crenshaw also had a run scored. Brayden Price rounded things out with a run scored on a 1 for 3 night.
Dorman will look to get back in the win column over Spring Break, once again going out of region as they take on River Bluff on the 3rd and 5th in a home and home set. They’ll be on the road for game 1 and back at Sims Field for game 2.
Byrnes will play just 1 game this coming week against the red-hot Chapman Panthers with first pitch set for Tuesday at 7:45 PM in Lyman.