Invitational a Learning Experience for Bengals

Bengals pitcher Collin Miller ducks as Todd Mattox makes the throw across the diamond to first and Justin Greider covers third during Blythewood’s Diamond Invitational game vs. J.L. Mann. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

Bengals pitcher Collin Miller ducks as Todd Mattox makes the throw across the diamond to first and Justin Greider covers third during Blythewood’s Diamond Invitational game vs. J.L. Mann. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD (April 6, 2016) – The Bengals baseball team may have finished 1-2 in the sixth South Carolina Diamond Invitational last weekend, but head coach Barry Mizzell said his young team got a lot of good experience out of the tournament.

“This helped us a lot,” Mizzell said. “We’ve got a young, inexperienced team and playing really good teams in this kind of competition will help us see what we need and where we need to go from here the rest of the season.”

The Bengals (7-6) finished 1-2 among the 8-team field, which included area teams White Knoll and Lexington, Lowcountry teams Summerville and Carolina Forest, and Upstate teams Dorman, J.L. Mann and Belton-Honea Path. They fell to Mann 12-6 in the opener Thursday, edged Lexington 3-2 Saturday afternoon, then lost 11-1 to Summerville Sunday in the consolation game.

Belton Honea Path topped Mann 7-1 in the championship game.

On Thursday, Ryan Bland homered and the Bengals and Patriots were knotted at 5 going into the seventh inning. Mann’s 7-run effort in the top of that frame clinched the win.

Against the Wildcats Saturday, Blythewood pitcher Tony Robson gave up just two hits and two runs in four-plus innings of work. Josh Cowan came on in the fifth and pitched three full innings of no-hit ball.

Down 1-0 in that game, Blythewood got all of its offense—three hits—in the third inning.

With no outs and the bases loaded, Tony Mattox drew a walk that drove in Jacob Davis, who also got on base with a walk. Robson hit into a 6-4 fielders’ choice that scored Jordyn Adams, who had singled. Justin Greider then singled in Aiden Massey, who reached base with a bunt single.

With runners at first and third and just one out, however, the rally came to an abrupt end when Lexington catcher Jared Kirven caught Greider off guard on the base paths as Ryan Bland batted. Bland then hit a ground ball back to pitcher Rhett Bane to retire the side.

The Wildcats got a run in the top of the sixth when Robson and Cowan combined to load the bases on walks and hit batters. Cowan dug out of the hole and retired the next three batters. The run came on David Jacobs’ 1-out sacrifice fly to right field that scored Bruce Kirven.

“We pitched really well and played pretty well defensively,” Mizzell said. “We didn’t hit very well, neither team did, but we got some clutch hits at the right time and played well.”

Against Summerville Sunday afternoon, Blythewood took a 1-0 lead in the second when John Greider scored on Jordan Fleming’s 1-out fielder’s choice. Then Thomas Murphy ended the inning when he hit into a fielder’s choice.

On Sunday, Bengals starting pitcher Austin Haitman set down seven Green Wave batters in order in the first three innings. The trouble came in the third with one out.

Summerville opened its 4-run third by loading the bases on back-to-back infield errors and a walk issued to Brock Tobin.

That set the table for Bo Gobin, who launched a double to left field that scored Daniel Lloyd and Brady Blanton. Tobin then scored on a 1-out fielder’s choice.

Johnny Waite batted in Gobin with a single to right. Sawyer Bridges then doubled to left, but Wilson Baity ended the inning when he flied out to Thomas Murphy in left.

The Green Wave picked up a run in the fifth and a run in the sixth to own a 6-1 lead going into the final inning. In the seventh, five out of the first six batters had base hits in what amounted to a 5-run final effort.

Bridges, Summerville’s starting pitcher who signed with the University of South Carolina in November, scattered seven Blythewood hits, striking out five and walking one.

“He’s a good pitcher, he throws hard,” Mizzell said. “I thought in the first four or five innings we ended up getting some guys on base, but maybe getting a 2-out hit and putting a little pressure on him would have helped. But that’s why he’s a good pitcher, he got out of it and made some good pitches. He settled down in the middle innings and pitched really well.”

Daniel Lloyd came on the mound to start the seventh and retired the Bengals in order to clinch the win.


Blythewood Results, South Carolina Diamond Invitational

March 31

J.L. Mann 12, Blythewood 6

J.L. Mann             001         400         7              –              12 10 2

Blythewood       010         202         1              –              6 6 1

M: Will Cannon, John Merk (7, W), and Bryce Leasure B:Justin Greider, Chase Ellis (5, L), Jordyn Adams (7), Colin Miller (7), Josh Cowan (7), and Ryan Bland. 2B – M: Pat Frick (2), Cooper Hardy. B: Jacob Davis, Ryan Bland. HR – B: Ryan Bland. LOB – M 7. B 5.


April 2

Lexington            001         010         0              –              2 2 0

Blythewood       000         300         x              –              3 3 2

L: Rhett Bane, Noah Davis (7), and Jared Kirven. B: Tony Robson (W), Josh Cowan (5), and Ryan Bland. LOB – L 9. B 3.


April 3

Summerville      004         011         5              –              11 13 1

Blythewood       010         000         0              –              1 7 4

S: Sawyer Bridges (W), Daniel Lloyd (7), and Rusty Grayson. B: Austin Haitman (L), Chase Ellis (6), Jordyn Adams (6), and Ryan Bland. 2B – S: Bo Gobin (2), Bridges, Kyle Jenkins. B: Adams, Bland. LOB – S 8. B 7.

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