Bengals Drop Ridge View in Playoff Tune-Up

Blythewood’s Chaz Mizzell goes in hard to second Monday.

The Blythewood Bengals baseball team (20-4, 10-0) defeated the Blazers of Ridge View (12-10, 3-7) on Monday night 7-1. With the win the Bengals finished the regular season undefeated in Region IV-4A play. Blythewood earned their seven runs off 12 hits. In the first inning Ridge View spotted the Bengals two errors in the infield and Blythewood scored three runs with the first five batters reaching base to take the early lead 3-0. Even with the gifts from Ridge View, Blythewood head coach Barry Mizzell wanted to see a little more out of his Bengals in their final game before the start of the playoffs.

“We just went through the motions,” Mizzell said. “They (Ridge View) made some mistakes early and we got up on them and then just went through the motions.”

Blythewood added on three more runs in the second inning. Tyler Romanik knocked in a run with a single that scored Ricky Kernan, Thomas Bessinger pulled a pitch down the left field line for a one-run double that brought home Andrew Beckwith and Derek Croxton came through with a sacrifice fly that plated Romanik to give the Bengals a 6-0 lead. After 53 pitches and just one and one-third innings of work, Ridge View’s starter, Marion Brown, was pulled from the game. Brown ended up allowing six runs on six hits and one walk with two strike outs. Allen Gardner came out of the bullpen to quell Blythewood’s storm.

Gardner threw four and two-thirds innings of shutout baseball giving up just three hits. Blythewood added an exclamation point to the victory when Romanik powered one over the right field fence for a solo home run to extend the Bengals lead to 7-1. He finished 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored and three runs batted in. Blythewood used four different pitchers on the mound in an effort to keep their arms fresh for the start of the playoffs. Zack Hamilton started the game and gave up just one hit, striking out four in three innings of work. Allen Louthian came on in relief in the fourth inning and went through two innings allowing one run on one hit and struck out three batters. Bessinger allowed two hits in the sixth inning but struck out three batters to get out of the inning unscathed. Jacob Davis allowed two hits in the seventh inning but did not give up a run as he struck out the final two batters to end the game.

Blythewood will face Fort Mill Thursday (April 25) in the first game of the District IV portion of the upper state bracket. There are four four-team brackets in the upper state and it is double elimination style to decide the 2013 state champion. The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets (14-10, 7-7) are the fourth place team out of Region III-4A. Fort Mill has a team batting average of .276 and average 5.2 runs per game. The Yellow Jackets pitching staff has a team earned run average of 2.20 with an opponent batting average of .226 and in a total of 155 and two-thirds innings pitched they’ve allowed 68 walks and recorded 85 strikeouts.

First pitch for Thursday’s playoff game is at 6:30 p.m.