Eagles Earn Split, Force Deciding Game 3 Saturday

 

Patrick Pope, in action earlier this season, got the job done Friday to force game 3 at home Saturday (May 3) at 1 p.m.

ST. MATTHEWS – After winding up on the wrong end of a masterful shutout performance by Calhoun Academy’s Tucker McGee in game 1 Friday evening, the Richard Winn Academy Eagles sent Patrick Pope to the mound in the nightcap to salvage a split and send the series back to Winnsboro.

Apart from a rocky sixth, Pope was solid; but it still took some late-game heroics for the Eagles to slip out of St. Matthews with a 1-all series tie. Cameron Cooper delivered a 2-out RBI single off Calhoun’s Wyatt Rucker into right field in the top of the seventh, sending Matt Taylor around third and bearing down on home plate. As the throw came in from right, on time and on target, Taylor leapt over the tag by Cavalier catcher Jackson Fleming and landed on home plate. The controversial hop over the sweeping tag drew the ire of the home crowd as well as the Calhoun staff, but the run stayed on the board to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead.

“He was doing the right thing, because if he had run into the catcher he could have been ejected,” RWA head coach Al Berry said. “He has to do everything to avoid the tag in high school baseball. And I think he did a pretty good job there.”

Pope retired the Cavs in order in the bottom half to seal the win, in spite of his unsteadiness in the previous frame. Calhoun, down 2-0, sent seven men to the plate in the sixth. A pair of costly errors and some timely hitting pushed 2 runs across, knotting the contest and shifting the momentum into the home dugout. But with the lead regained in the seventh, Berry sent his senior back to the hill to finish the deal.

“He’s a senior,” Berry said of his starter. “I have three guys here who have played four years with me since I’ve been at Richard Winn. So he deserved an opportunity to do that.”

The Eagles were facing certain elimination in the SCISA Class 2A state playoffs after suffering a 7-0 drubbing in game 1. McGee had a no-hitter working into the sixth and had faced only one batter above the minimum, having plunked Austin Knox with 2 outs in the first. Richard Winn cobbled together a pair of hits in the top of the sixth, but left the bases loaded after McGee recovered his composure. McGee threw but 70 pitches in the complete-game win while his RWA counterpart, Knox, was not as sharp. The RWA ace was touched up for 8 hits and 7 runs, all but three of which were earned.

“We didn’t play very well the first game,” Berry said. “Austin didn’t pitch very well. We knew that Calhoun Academy is well-coached, fundamental team.”

But with the season on the line, the Eagles responded in game 2, forcing a deciding game Saturday (May 3) at 1 p.m. in Winnsboro.

“One of the biggest things I’ve always enjoyed in coaching is when a team – and over the years I’ve had many do this – when they have their backs against the wall and they fight back,” Berry said. “To see kids do that stuff, that’s always fun as a coach to see them do that. That’s character-building going on when you do that.”

 

Game 1

RWA – 0 0 0  0 0 0  0 – 0 2 8

Cal – 3 0 1  0 3 0  x – 7 8 0

Pitching: Cal—T. McGee (W), 7IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 5K, 1HB, TBF-25, 70P, 21B, 49S. RW—A. Knox (L), 4.2IP, 8H, 7R, 4ER, 1BB, 4K, 1HB, TBF-28, 93P, 28B, 65S; B. Pauley, 1.1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 1HB, TBF-5, 17P, 7B, 10S.

Hitting: 2B—E. Tucker (RW), Ryan Sandifer (Cal)(2). LOB: RW—4, Cal—8.

Time of Game: 1:25

Game 2

RWA – 1 0 0  0 1 0  1 – 3 8 2

Cal – 0 0 0  0 0 2  0 – 2 4 2

Pitching: RW—P. Pope (W), 7IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 7K, 1HB, TBF-28, 93P, 30B, 63S. Cal—W. Rucker (L), 6.2IP, 8H, 3R, 1ER, 0BB, 2K, 2HB, TBF-31, 84P, 18B, 66S; Z. Gray, 0.1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, TBF-1, 2P, 0B, 2S.

Hitting: 2B—M. Taylor, E. Tucker (RW).

Time of Game: 1:20

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