Griffins Stumble in Region Play

The throw down to third sails over the head of Fairfield Central's Chris Boyd. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

The throw down to third sails over the head of Fairfield Central’s Chris Boyd. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

WINNSBORO – After opening region play with back-to-back wins, hammering Eau Claire 12-0 on March 11 and edging Columbia 5-2 on March 12, the Fairfield Central baseball squad dropped a pair of key region games last week and another Tuesday to fall to an even 2-3 in the standings.

Following a 7-1 loss to Newberry on March 19, the Griffins lost control of Mid-Carolina in the fifth inning Friday night, falling 13-3 in the run-shortened game.

The Griffins held the Rebels close through four behind Stanley McManus’s start. Trailing 5-0, Fairfield Central scratched out a run in the bottom of the fourth when William Foster, who led off with the Griffins second hit of the night, went to second on a wild pitch, stole third and then pulled off the improbable swipe of home with one out.

But the Rebels unloaded on McManus in the fifth, chasing the sophomore from the mound with two on and two more runs scored with no outs. McManus was charged with 10 of the 13 Rebel runs, giving up eight hits and one walk while striking out four and hitting a batter. Four of McManus’s runs were unearned, as the Griffins committed four errors behind the starter and six errors total.

While McManus’s strike-to-ball ratio was an impressive 52-to-32, the Rebels made contact with any and everything on, near or around the plate. Although Ryan Stoudemire’s ratio wasn’t quite as good, it was good enough to give the Rebels the win.

Stoudemire threw 46 strikes against 34 balls, walking four and striking out 13 with a mix of heat and a knee-buckling curve ball that bamboozled batters all night long.

“(Stoudemire) threw more balls than he threw strikes,” Griffins head coach Scotty Dean said. “He got a lot of his outs on strikeouts, he walked way more people than we did. But they can swing it.”

The Rebels banged out 11 hits against McManus and Tydarius Young, who came on in the fifth. Stoudemire, hitting in the third spot, did the heavy lifting, going 4-for-4 with three singles, a double, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored.

Down 13-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Griffins put together a minor rally against Stoudemire. McManus reached on a passed ball after swinging through strike three and Chris Boyd lifted a 1-2 pitch to the base of the center field fence for an RBI double. Boyd went to third on the throw in from center and scored on a wild pitch before Stoudemire stomped out the fire.

The Griffins had base runners in every inning against Stoudemire, but could not bring them around.

“Pitching and timely hitting,” Dean said. “Right now we’ve got the pitching; we’re not getting timely hitting.”

That same formula was the bane of the Griffins Tuesday at Pelion, where they lost 2-1 on a sacrifice fly by the Panthers in the bottom of the seventh. Lane Floyd held the Panthers hitless through four, giving up only 2 hits and 2 walks through 5 and 2/3. Floyd left in the fifth with two outs and the game tied at 1-all. McManus finished up the fifth, retired the side in order in the sixth before giving up a hit in the seventh that produced the Pelion rally.

The Griffins will host their spring break tournament, March 30 – April 1.

MC: 2-0-2-1-8-x-x – 13-11-0

FC: 0-0-0-1-2-x-x – 3-3-6

WP: R. Stoudemire – 5IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 13K, 1HB. LP: S. McManus – 4IP, 8H, 10R, 6ER, 1BB, 4K, 1HB. T. Young (FC) – 1IP, 2H, 3R, 1ER, 0BB, 0K, 1HB.

2B: Vincent Beaver, Chris Boyd (FC); R. Stoudemire, R. Frazier (MC).