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Gaffney Falls to Boiling Springs; Bulldogs Win Series

As the season hit the home stretch this week, the standings races have been anything but settled. Especially in region 2-5A, which regardless of the sport, seems to always have some crazy scenarios come into play in the final week of the regular season.


At the start of this week, Dorman sat in 2nd place behind Byrnes, with the Rebels needing just one win over the Cavaliers to clinch the region. On the other side of that scenario, Dorman needed to pull off an unlikely sweep of Byrnes to win the region. Boiling Springs and Gaffney entered their series this week with the Bulldogs needing simply to avoid being swept by the Indians to, at the very least, secure a spot in the playoffs as the 4 seed.


Since Monday, the picture has grown steadily clearer. Byrnes took care of business quickly, shutting out Dorman in the opener 3-0 to clinch, and Boiling Springs won the opener on the road at Gaffney via an offensive explosion to the tune of an 11-1 rout. Aside from Byrnes being locked in as the one seed, only one other thing was set in stone after Monday’s contests – Gaffney would be the team left out when the brackets are finalized this weekend. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seeds could have come down to any one of about 5 different scenarios – all centering around the final 2 series in the region this week.


Boiling Springs by virtue of their win Monday, put themselves in a situation where with a sweep of Gaffney, they’d finish 7-5 in the region, potentially locking them in as the outright 2 seed. Dorman’s loss made things much more dire on their end. Should the Cavaliers bounce back and win the last 2 with Byrnes, and Boiling Springs sweeps Gaffney, they would end up tied for 2nd, with the Bulldogs taking the spot thanks to taking the series head to head.


We now interrupt your headache to tell the story of what happened in game 2 of Boiling Springs’ tilt with Gaffney…


On a beautiful night to recognize their six seniors, Boiling Springs Head Coach Jeff Lipscomb opted to give the ball to Chansen Cole, the senior right hander that signed with Newberry College on Tuesday. In a Boiling Springs pitching staff that has been beleaguered a bit over the last couple of weeks, Cole has been the biggest bright spot, and that was no exception in his final home regular season start, going 6 full innings, striking out 4 and surrendering just 1 earned run on 4 hits.


“Chansen is 6-1 with a save. He has a lot of ability. Our guys look up to him as a veteran. He has played varsity since he was in 10th grade, and he loves to compete. He got hurt last year and didn’t get to pitch but two games, but he has bounced back well. He has worked hard in the weight room, he has gotten stronger, and he has developed a good fastball, curveball, and changeup”, said Lipscomb.


Cole’s exceptional performance was complemented well by the Bulldogs’ bats. After 2 scoreless innings to start the game, Boiling Springs finally got to Gaffney starter Scout Gilfillan, when Kyle Patterson singled with 1 out for just their 2nd hit of the day up to that point. He would end up on third soon thereafter thanks to a 2 base errant pickoff throw that went all the way up the right field line. Landon Stevens drew a walk to put runners on the corners before 2nd baseman Kai Lee had a stroke of bad luck. He grounded back to the mound for a fielders choice that erased Patterson at the plate.


There may have been some controversy to the call on the close play at the plate, but it would all be forgotten as Justin Dawkins delivered a clutch single into center for the first 2 of his team-leading 3 RBIs on the night. He would end the night 2 for 3, with his 2nd RBI knock coming as part of a string of 3 consecutive singles to start the bottom of the 5th.


“I cut Justin in the 9th grade. He was undersized and I didn’t feel he had the skills to play baseball. I told him to prove me wrong, and he has. He has battled and he told me he wanted to be great. Now he has a chance after this year to go to Spartanburg Methodist College and play for Coach Wallace. He runs well, he has a great arm, and quick hands. I can’t say enough about ‘two-one’”, said Coach Lipscomb.


Catcher JD Moore and Shortstop Kohen Bridges also notched RBIs in the game, with Moore’s coming on a 2 run single in the bottom of the 5th and Bridges doubling on a grounder that took a crazy last-second hop on the shortstop and went all the way to the left center gap in the 4th.


In the end, the Bulldogs cruised to the 6-1 victory as senior relievers Mason Shuford (signed with King University on Tuesday) and Dylan Miller combined to get out of the 7th inning with just one hit allowed. After getting his first man looking, Shuford surrendered a single to Garrett Moss, but the ball was cut off in left and Moss was gunned out 7-6 trying to stretch a double. After that, Miller got the final out by inducing a fly ball to right.


“To win this series is huge. Last weekend was torture for me. We lost to a good Spartanburg team twice. Take nothing from them – they are playing really well. But, it has been tough for us the whole year. We play really well one game and the next seems to go south very quickly. Winning this series and locking up 2nd place gives us a lot of confidence and a home playoff game. And of course, once you get to the playoffs, anything can happen”, said Coach Lipscomb following the victory.


With the win, Boiling Springs all but locked up the 2 seed, as Dorman ended up letting their game get away in the top of the 7th after leading the entire night up to that point. Byrnes hung a 7 spot en route to an 8-3 series-clinching victory. The Bulldogs went to 6-5 in the region, leapfrogging over both Spartanburg and Dorman, who fell to 5-6 in the league.


After tonight, regardless of what happens on Friday, Boiling Springs will be the 2 seed. Even if they fail to sweep Gaffney and Dorman salvages the finale, both teams would be 6-6 in 2-5A play with Boiling Springs holding the head-to-head tie breaker. The real predicament is what will become of Dorman. If the Cavaliers get swept, they would fall into a tie with Spartanburg at 5-7. That would mean they would end up dropping from 2nd place with a chance to win the region to 4th place in the course of a week, as the Vikings hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.


The decisive Friday night action will see Boiling Springs go back to Jug Wallace Field for a 6:30 first pitch while Dorman goes back to ‘The Backyard’ in Duncan, with first pitch also set for 6:30PM.

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