Eagles Sweep Through Round 1

RWA’s Matt Taylor makes a leaping effort, but the throw in from the infield sails high and to the backstop, allowing Everest White (5) of St. Andrew’s to sneak in for the score in the top of the fourth of game 1 Monday. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

RWA Travels to Calhoun for Round 2

WINNSBORO – The St. Andrew’s Lions came to scrap, putting Richard Winn Academy in the hole early in both games of Monday night’s doubleheader, but the Eagles found some much-needed power in the middle innings to sweep both games of the round one series in the SCISA Class 2A state baseball playoffs.

“They’re a good team, a scrappy team,” RWA head coach Al Berry said, “and they’re always in it, a scrappy team like that, when you give them base runners.”

John Coleman delivered a 2-out RBI double in the bottom of the second in game one to cut a 2-0 Lions’ lead in half. In the third, the Eagles batted around, with Matt Taylor’s RBI single bringing in Patrick Pope to tie the affair and Austin Knox’s 2-run blast over the left-center fence giving the Eagles the lead. Conrad Sharpe followed Knox with a double, then came around on an RBI single by Cameron Cooper. Hampton Caughman drove in Cooper with an RBI single and Coleman came through with his second RBI of the afternoon, plating Caughman. By the time Everest White retired the side for the Lions, the Eagles had cobbled together 6 runs for a 7-2 lead.

But Knox, who got the start for the Eagles, ran out of gas in the top of the fourth. The right-hander walked a pair and hit two batters, while his defense committed two costly errors to let the Lions back into the cupboard, scoring 4. With two outs, Knox was lifted for Cooper, who got out of the jam on five pitches. Cooper went the rest of the way, giving up no more runs on two hits and no walks while striking out four. Only 2 of Knox’s 6 runs were earned.

“We didn’t have our A-game tonight,” Berry said. “Defensively, we didn’t play as sharp as we have been playing. I don’t know if it was a little bit of nervousness from being in the playoff, or if it was just having a bad game like you have. We made quite a few errors and fielding mistakes and our pitchers weren’t quite as sharp as they have been. We weren’t throwing strikes like we usually do. We gave them quite a few runners.”

The Eagles added insurance runs in the fourth and fifth innings to seal the 10-6 win in game one.

St. Andrew’s again took a 2-0 lead in the first inning in game two against Patrick Pope when Lions catcher Andrew Adams banged a 2RBI single, plating Ryne Wollenburg and Brooks Vanderlugt. Wollenburg reached after being plunked with a 1-1 pitch to lead off the game and Vanderlugt drew a walk after falling behind 1-2.

The Eagles got one back in the bottom of the third when Pope drove in Coleman with a 2-out RBI single, but the Lions roared back with 3 runs in the top of the fourth when the Eagles booted the ball three critical times. Trailing 5-1 going into the bottom of the frame, the Eagles again batted around. With the bags juiced, Caughman drew a free pass, plating Knox to make it 5-2. After Coleman struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch, Jason Branham delivered a sacrifice fly to left, plating Conrad Sharpe and making it 5-3. That sent Blake Pauley to the plate for what might have been the most crucial at-bat of the game. Pauley worked the count full, then fouled off three consecutive pitches from Nate Mayo before earning a walk to re-load the bases for Pope.

Pope then sent the first pitch he saw screaming into deep left field, up and over the yellow stripe and into the trees for a mammoth grand slam and a 7-5 Eagles lead.

“A lot of our guys did a good job going with the pitch tonight,” Berry said. “A lot of our hits were to the opposite field on pitches away. Our guys did a really good job getting the sweet part of the bat on the ball.”

And yet those Lions were not to be so easily tamed. In the top of the fifth, the pesky squad out of Savannah, Ga. took advantage of three more Eagle errors to tie the game at 7. If the Eagles were going to sweep and avoid a long road trip for a deciding game three on Tuesday, their offense would have to make it up.

They did.

In the bottom of the fifth, Richard Winn sent 11 men to the plate. A pair of costly Lion errors and clutch RBIs from Coleman and Pauley helped the Eagles push 6 runs across, lifting RWA to a 13-7 win.

Pope struck out the first two Lions he faced in the sixth, sending his pitch count to 87, and was relieved by Pauley who mopped up the rest with just 13 pitches in 1.1 innings of work.

“We’re going to have to play again on Friday and that’s only three days’ rest,” Berry said of Pope and the rest of his pitching staff. “We have other pitchers that can come in and pitch. We let Pat go a little longer on his pitch count, about eight or 10 pitches longer, just to build him up this time of year where we can do that. Luckily we don’t have to play tomorrow. He wasn’t as sharp as he had been.”

The Eagles will travel to Calhoun Academy today (May 2) for a 4 p.m. start to the doubleheader. Calhoun swept Trinity-Byrnes Monday, 3-1 and 4-3.

Game 1

SA – 2 0 0 4 0 0 0 – 6 8 4

RW – 0 1 6 2 1 0 x – 10 13 2

Pitching: RW: A. Knox (W) – 3.2IP, 6H, 6R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K, 2HB. TBF—20. 77P, 49S, 28B. C. Cooper – 3.1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, 1HB. TBF—14. 40P, 26S, 14B. SA: E. White (L) – 6IP, 13H, 10R, 8ER, 0BB, 2K, 1HB. TBF—32. 77P, 50S, 27B.

Hitting: RW: 2B—H. Caughman, J. Coleman, P. Pope (2), C. Sharpe. HR—A. Knox. SA: 2B—A. Adams, R. Wollenburg. LOB: SA—7; RW—4. DP: SA (2nd).

Time of Game – 1:42.

Game 2

SA – 2 0 0 3 2 0 0 – 7 5 4

RW – 0 0 1 6 6 0 x – 13 9 6

Pitching: RW: P. Pope (W) – 5.2IP, 3H, 7R, 2ER, 2BB, 9K, 2HB. TBF—27. 87P, 64S, 23B. B. Pauley – 1.1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 1K. TBF—13. 13P, 8S, 5B.

Hitting: RW: HR—P. Pope. LOB: SA—4; RW—4. DP: RW (3rd & 7th).

Time of Game—2:06.

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