Griffins Bump Off Eagles, Face Rematch with Central

 

Winning pitcher Stanley McManus drives in the game winning runs Monday. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

WINNSBORO – The milestones keep flying by on Fairfield Central’s baseball interstate. After winning only their second postseason game in school history last week – their second in as many years – the Griffins notched their third Monday night, eliminating Chesterfield 12-2 in five innings to set up a do-or-die rematch with Central High School Wednesday.

The Eagles handed the Griffins a 4-3 loss Friday up in Pageland, a game that Fairfield Central head coach Scotty Dean thinks his team let slip away. Wednesday, the Griffins will have to roll a pair against the Eagles to advance out of the District IV bracket and into the upper state playoffs.

“Friday we were hurt a little bit,” Dean said. “Compton (Walker) pitched a heck of a game Friday.”

Walker will have to pitch even better Wednesday, but Dean, riding high on Monday’s win, is confident.

“The trick Wednesday is to win the first one,” Dean said. “They’ve got a left-handed guy who’s going to USC-Aiken or Lancaster – somewhere. We’re going to have to beat him. They haven’t played since Friday. We win game 1, Monk (Stanley McManus) will start game 2. Monk will throw game 2 and Brandon Adams will shut the door. That’s how it’s going to go down, I’m telling you. Compton wins game 1. Monk can go 5 and Brandon Adams will close the door.”

Although McManus found himself in a couple of jams Monday, he was strong enough for the win, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. Only one of his runs was earned. McManus got out of a bases-loaded spot in the second, stranding all three Chesterfield runners. In the third, the Eagles loaded the bags again, but scratched out only one run before McManus slipped the noose.

“I thought about coming to get him,” Dean said. “Monk is one of the toughest freshmen I’ve ever seen. I’d put him right now against any freshman in the state.”

The Griffins jumped out to a 2-0 lead early Monday, cashing in on Javaris Cook’s 1-out double in the first when Walker belted an RBI triple, and making the Eagles pay for an outfield error in the second to bring home Ta’Quan Kelly. Chesterfield cut that lead in half in the third, but in the bottom half the Griffins chased Danzel Rivers from the mound, plating 8 runs on 6 hits. After Javaris Cook flew out to left to start the inning off, Walker and McManus followed with back-to-back singles. McManus’s shot drove Walker home and Chris Boyd doubled home McManus. Javaris Kennedy singled in Boyd, then scored on an Eagle error. On his second trip to the plate in the inning, Cook singled in Brandon Adams, who had reached on a walk, and Akeem Foster, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Walker’s second at-bat of the inning produced a 2RBI single, bringing in both Javaris Cook and Tavaris Cook, the latter of whom had reached after being hit by relief pitcher Landen Walters.

“Compton Walker, T. and J. Cook, those guys are our tone-setters,” Dean said. “Three seniors who have played a lot for us. If Compton Walker and Stanley McManus play well, we’ll be a good baseball team. . . . T. Cook is as steady as it gets. I wish I could coach this group of guys for 10 more years.”

The explosive inning gave the Griffins a 10-1 lead. Chesterfield made it 10-2 in the fourth with an unearned run. While McManus kept the Eagles at bay, the Griffin offense needed just two more runs to 10-run-rule Chesterfield out of town.

Tavaris Cook led off the fifth with a strikeout, but when the Chesterfield catcher was unable to reel in the wild pitch, Cook raced to first. Javaris Cook and Walker each flew out, so with two down, McManus stepped into the box. The freshman stroked an 0-1 pitch into the right-center gap, sending Cook to the plate to make it 11-2. The Chesterfield centerfielder misplayed the ball, which rolled between his feet and to the fence. McManus rounded second and found the next gear. As McManus hit third, the throw came in from the outfield. Dean gave the green light all the way and McManus raced home for the winning run.

“I can’t say enough about these guys,” Dean said. “They play hard. A lot of schools in the state are not still playing baseball right now. This is one big step for us. . . . You don’t waltz in here and just get a win anymore.”

First pitch for Wednesday’s game is tentatively set for 4 p.m. Check back for additional details.

 

CHS – 0 0 1  1 0 x  x – 2 7 5

FCHS – 1 1 8  0 2 x  x – 12 13 2

Pitching: FC – S. McManus (W), 5IP, 7H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 6K, 2HB, 28TBF. 96P, 39B, 57S. CH – Dan. Rivers (L), 2.1IP, 8H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, 4K, 15TBF. 46P, 16B, 30S; L. Walters, 2.2IP, 5H, 6R, 5ER, 1BB, 4K, 1HB, 16TBF. 47P, 15B, 32S.

Hitting: FC – 3B, C. Walker. 2B, J. Cook, C. Boyd, T. Kelly. CH – 3B, D. Grant.

 

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