Eagles’ Postseason Hopes Fading

Austin Knox lifts a high pop-up over the infield.

After rattling off consecutive wins last week for the first time since mid March, the Richard Winn Academy Eagles baseball team saw their playoff hopes diminish drastically Tuesday night as they let a 2-0 lead slip away in the late innings to Spartanburg Christian. The Warriors battled back against the Academy, tying the game in the sixth and plating four in the seventh to deprive RWA of a critical second region win, 6-2.

The loss leaves the Eagles tied for third in the region with Greenwood Christian, with a narrow possibility of being selected for postseason play.

Patrick Pope went six and two-thirds, giving up all six runs on eight hits, a walk, one hit batsman and eight strikeouts. Austin Knox faced one batter in the seventh to retire the side. Knox also went 2-for-4 at the plate, with a solo home run in the first inning. Pope, Corey Davis and Jason Branham each went 1-for-4, while Reid Johnson went 1-for-2. Elijah Tucker was 1-for-3 with a double.

For the Warriors, Sam Edney worked all seven innings, with two earned runs on six hits, three walks and five strikeouts.

The loss ended a minor winning streak that began April 17 for the Eagles when they belted Newberry Academy 14-8 in a game shortened by darkness. Sidney Edenfield earned the win, working three and a third innings and giving up five runs on three hits, four walks and three strikeouts. Three of Edenfield’s runs were earned. Tucker faced one batter in the fourth, inducing the inning-ending double play. Cameron Cooper worked the final inning, giving up three runs, two of which were earned.

The Eagle’s bats were on fire, led by Pope who went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and two runs scored. Tucker was also 3-for-4 with a three-run blast. Davis went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Knox and Edenfield were each 2-for-4, Knox with an RBI and Edenfield with two runs scored. Branham went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs and Zach Bowens was 1-for-1 with an RBI.

For Newberry, Jason Connely took the loss, giving up six runs on six hits in three complete innings. Matt Cole surrendered seven runs in a single inning of work, while Josh Epting gave up one run in the final inning of play.

The Eagles notched their first and only region win of the year April 18, edging out Greenwood Christian 10-9 in nine innings while overcoming a pitching performance by Greenwood’s Caleb and Noah Hinzman, who combined for 15 strikeouts.

Branham got the win for the Eagles, giving up just one run on three hits in the final five innings. Knox gave up eight runs (four earned) on nine hits, a walk and three strikeouts in the first four frames. Branham and Knox were also dominant at the plate, with Knox driving in five runs on a pair of doubles while going a perfect 4-for-4. Branham went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Pope was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. John Coleman notched the game-winning RBI, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth.

Caleb Hinzman lasted only one inning, giving up four earned runs on three hits while striking out a pair. He gave way to his brother Noah who, although he gave up five earned runs, struck out 13 in seven innings of work. Ben Pettit worked the ninth for the Hawks, walking three and hitting Coleman for the go-ahead run.