Boiling Springs Stays Alive
After suffering a setback Tuesday night via a 10-6 loss to Rock Hill in which Boiling Springs senior ace and Clemson signee Jackson had an uncharacteristically tough start, the Bulldogs were looking to fight to keep their season alive on Thursday in the first elimination game of the 5A district 3 playoffs.
Boiling Springs would welcome a familiar foe from their last couple of years being in region 3-5A together, hosting the Nation Ford Falcons in front of a great crowd on a warm late Spring night.
With the need to carefully manage pitching, Jeff Lipscomb and his staff opted to send Kyle Dill, who has been excellent as the #2 arm in the Bulldog rotation most of the season, to the bump, hoping he can continue that trend.
He did his job well, being party to a pitchers duel up until he began to lose his control a bit in the 6th inning. After getting the first batter of the inning, Dill walked the next man up, and surrendered a single to the next. After both runners advanced on a double steal, Dill issued yet another free pass to load the bases, setting the stage for Nation Ford to take the lead 3-0 on a bases-loaded walk and a 2 run double back to back. The double ended the night for Dill, and he was taken down for Corben Childers, the Bulldogs’ typical #3 guy in the rotation.
Childers managed to mop up the mess, striking out his first hitter and getting the next to ground right back to him to retire the side.
Needing to answer in the worst way, Jeff Lipscomb wasted no time in trying to find the right buttons to push. With the season on the line and the game in crunch time, he essentially decided to empty his bench in the bottom of the 6th.
After Hudson Wilson led off the home 6th with a single, he was erased on a fielder’s choice 6-4, while Jackson Cole just did beat the rap at 1st. Corben Childers jumped on the first pitch he saw and flied to center, making it seem as if they were heading for yet another inning where the Bulldogs got their leadoff man on and could do nothing with it. In fact, in the fashion that has become typical of Boiling Springs this season, they had gotten runners on in all but 1 inning up to that point, stranding 5. In every inning but the 3rd, they got their leadoff man on.
Now we build up to the “postseason moment” the Bulldogs needed. Justin Dawkins singled with 2 out to put runners on the corners for the first pinch hitter Lipscomb dialed up — Eli Mobley. Mobley was plunked by the 0-2 pitch to load the sacks for sophomore Emory Horton, who was brought in to pinch hit for Landon Stevens. That gamble paid dividends.
On a full count, Horton laced a fly ball over the center fielder’s head and into the gap that went off the fence and died in right center for a game-tying bases-clearing triple. He would ultimately end up the 6th Bulldog left on the bases after the 3rd pinch hitter of the frame, Andrew Coley, lined to right to end the inning, but it goes without saying that Emory’s unforgettable heroic moment completely flipped this game.
Following a quick 3 up 3 down frame by Corben Childers in which he struck out 2, there was one more heroic postseason moment – and quite possibly an example of a moment of redemption – to be had.
Luke Compton walked on a full count to lead off the Bulldog 7th. Riley Douglas followed it with a single. After Hudson Wilson struck out swinging for the first out of the frame, Jackson Cole stepped into the box.
On a 1-1 count, Cole lined a single into left field that was just deep enough for the speedy Luke Compton to cruise into home to end the game.
In as poetic and dramatic a fashion as could be, Jackson Cole delivered a clutch hit to help keep his team in the playoffs after a tough outing in the playoff opener. And that hit scored a guy named Luke on Star Wars Day.
Corben Childers earned the win in relief, going an inning and two-thirds with no runs, hits, no walks, and 3 strikeouts.
Emory Horton led the way with 3 RBIs on the triple in his lone plate appearance of the game. Jackson Cole had the game’s lone other RBI on the walkoff, capping a 1-3 night with a walk and a run scored. Justin Dawkins went 2-3 at the plate with a pair of singles and a run scored. Luke Compton logged a hit and a walk with a run scored in a 1-3 effort.
With the win, Boiling Springs survives to take on Woodmont in the final elimination game of the 5A upperstate District 3 playoffs, who fell to the red-hot Rock Hill Bearcats 9-5 Thursday night. The game will be at Bulldog Park on Saturday with a road trip up highway 5 to Rock Hill for the District final on the line. Time is to be determined with the threat of potential inclement weather looming.