Griffins Notch 2nd Postseason Win, Hit the Road for Game 2

WINNSBORO – For only the second time in school history – and for the second time in as many years – the Fairfield Central Griffins earned a win in the Class 2A state baseball playoffs, outlasting Chesterfield Thursday night 10-8. The victory sends the Griffins on the road tonight (May 2) at Central-Pageland for game 2 in the District bracket.

“I don’t think that’s got anything to do with me,” Griffin head coach Scotty Dean said of the history making postseason wins. “These kids, they come work hard every day. I’m hard on them, because I want stuff like this and I want stuff like this for them more than me.”

Freshman Stanley “Monk” McManus earned the win on the mound, working 5 1/3 innings and giving up 8 runs on 10 hits to a solid-hitting Rams team. Only 3 of McManus’s runs were earned, however, as the Griffin defense committed four errors and two of McManus’s three walks came around to score. Compton Walker came on in the sixth to close things out and earn the save, giving up just one hit while striking out three and walking three.

“I can’t say enough about our guys,” Dean said. “Monk is a freshman up there, doing that stuff in a playoff game. I don’t know if he realized what he was up there doing. We helped him out a lot with the way we hit the baseball.”

The Griffin bats came to life in the third when they sent 11 men to the plate, scoring 8 runs on 6 hits and chasing Chesterfield starter Bailey Polson from the hill. Polson’s defense did him no favors, committing five errors in the breakout inning. Fairfield Central was down 3-2 heading into the explosive frame, but a 2RBI double by Jalen Davis and an RBI single by Javaris Cook complemented singles by McManus, Chris Boyd, Jarvis Kennedy and Brandon Adams to run up a 10-3 lead. Danzel Rivers came on in relief, getting credit for 2 of the 8 runs in the inning on one hit. Rivers would give up only one more hit the rest of the way, but the Griffins had done all the damage they would need to do.

Still, the Rams pushed the game to the limit.

The Rams cut the lead to 10-5 with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fourth, then inched even closer with three in the top of the sixth. Walker fanned the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh, then gave up a single to Rivers, who went to second on a wild pitch. Dillon Rivers struck out looking for out number two, but that still left David Grant, the Rams’ three-hole slugger, for the Griffins to solve. Representing the tying run, Grant was 2-for-3 on the night thus far, with an RBI triple in the first and a 2RBI single in the sixth to his credit. But Dean and the Griffins took a gamble, intentionally walking Grant – putting the tying run on first – in favor of cleanup hitter Bryan Watson.

“I wasn’t going to let (Grant) beat me,” Dean said after the game. “Let (Watson) do it.”

It was no sure thing. Watson was sitting on a 2-for-4 night with a pair of RBIs. On a 1-2 pitch, Watson sent a hard grounder down to third. Akeem Foster scooped it out of the dust, considered a throw across the diamond for the putout, then raced down to the bag to retire Rivers unassisted in a bang-bang game-ending play.

“That team can hit the baseball,” Dean said of the Rams. “I thought every one of them was going to get a hit.”

First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. tonight. The winner of tonight’s contest will be off until Wednesday, while the loser will return to action Monday.

CH – 2 0 2  2 0 3  0 –  8 11 5

FC – 2 0 8  0 0 0  x – 10 11 4

Pitching: FC – S. McManus (W), 5.1IP, 10H, 8R, 3ER, 3BB, 2K, 1HB, 1BK, TBF: 30. 123P, 56B, 67S. C. Walker (S), 1.2IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, 3K, TBF: 9. 34P, 16B, 18S. CH – B. Polson (L), 2IP, 8H, 8R, 5ER, 1BB, 0K, TBF: 17. 49P, 18B, 31S. Danz. Rivers, 4IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 5K, 1HB, TBF: 16. 49P, 16B, 33S.

Hitting: 2B—T. Cook, J. Davis (FC). 3B—D. Grant (CH). LOB: CH—11, FC—4.

Time of Game: 2:22.

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