BHS hosts Diamond Invitational

Landon Lucas picked up last Thursday’s win on the mound against Dutch Fork. | Martha Ladd

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood baseball looked to repeat as SC Diamond Invitational champion last week, but Dorman proved too strong at the plate and on the mound.

The Bengals, hosting the tournament in its ninth year, beat Wren 11-1, fell to the Cavaliers in a 3-0 shutout, topped Dutch Fork 7-2 and lost 3-1 to Chapin in the consolation game Saturday.

After topping the Bengals Wednesday, Dorman fell 7-6 to the Silver Foxes that night, but shut out Wren 2-0 Thursday and held off Lexington 10-7 Saturday to claim the tournament championship.

While Blythewood (19-7) missed making the championship, the team is in a good position for the District IV Tournament, which started Tuesday.
“We like what we’re doing and it’s gonna be good to be at home,” head coach Banks Faulkner said. “We hadn’t played at home in the playoffs in a while. Hopefully we’ll have good crowds out here to support our kids. They deserve a good crowd.”

Blythewood won the Region 4-5A championship with an 11-1 mark and is ranked fourth among the state’s 5A teams in the final regular-season South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association poll.

No.1 seed Blythewood opened the District IV Tournament playing host to Region 2’s Byrnes in the first round of the upper-state tournament. No. 2 Riverside played host to No.3 Greenwood on the other half of the 4-team double-elimination tournament bracket.

“We’ll go to work,” Faulkner said. “We’ll go do what we do.”

With a lineup bristling with bats and a pitching staff loaded with experienced arms, what Blythewood does is stay competitive in all phases of the game, something it showed in the tournament.

Blythewood opened the Invitational with an 11-1 victory over Wren in six innings. The Bengals got five runs in the second inning and another five in the fourth to support starting pitcher Davis Wright.

Wright worked four innings and gave up two of Wren’s 3 hits. He struck out two and walked one. Tripp Reeves worked the final two innings and gave up Wren’s only run. He struck out three and walked none.

That night the Bengals took on top-ranked Dorman. Starting pitcher John Lanier 4-hit the Cavaliers in 6-plus innings of work, but gave up all three runs—two unearned—in a 3-0 loss. Lanier was 2-3.

In Blythewood’s only game Thursday, the Bengals returned to offensive form following the Dorman shutout with a 5-run second inning surge en route to a 7-2 win over Dutch Fork in six innings. Josh Cowan went 2-for-3 with a double. Landon Lucas, Jansen Stokes, and Josh Cowan all doubled for the Bengals, with Cowan going 2-for-3 with two RBI.

That win set up Blythewood’s slot against Chapin in the tournament’s consolation game.

With wind and a drizzle of rain in the first and second innings, Blythewood starter Alex Canino blanked the Eagles in the first inning but gave up two runs on one hit in the second.

Chapin starter William Privette didn’t give the Bengals many opportunities to get those runs back. He gave up two hits and struck out seven in four innings of work.

After Chapin picked up a third run in the bottom of the fourth, Blythewood managed a run with Drew Highfill on the mound.

Michael Gregory led the inning off with a long double into the left centerfield gap. After Josh Cowan struck out, Harrison Lambert singled and moved Gregory to third.  Zach Bailes singled Gregory home, but was tagged out going for second. Lucas ended the inning on an infield groundout.

“The goal when you’re chasing runs is to bring the tying run to the plate,” Faulkner said. “We battled against a really good team.We feel good about the way we’ve played.”

Cowan, Gregory, and Lucas earned spots on the All-Tournament Team. Lambert made the tournament’s All-Academic Team.

Going into Tuesday’s playoff game, Landon Lucas led the Bengals at the plate with a .420 batting average, five home runs, 10 doubles and 29 runs batted in. Lucas also has five wins on the mound, a 1.89 ERA and 30 strikeouts.

Pitching ace Jordan Lanier has six wins, a 0.47 ERA and 51 strikeouts.

Blythewood 11, Wren 1

BHS – 0-5-0-5-0-1 –11, 9, 1

WHS – 1-0-0-0-0-0 – 1, 3, 2

WP: Davis Wright. LP: Owen Austin.

Hitters: Blythewood – Landon Lucas 3-4, HR, 2B, 5RBI. Michael Gregory 2-3. John Lanier 2B.

 Dorman 3, Blythewood 0

DHS – 1-0-0-0-0-0-2 – 3, 4, 1

BHS – 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 – 0, 3, 1

WP: Michael Eggert. LP: John Lanier.

Hitters: Blythewood – John Lanier 2-3.

 Blythewood 7, Dutch Fork 2

DFHS – 0-1-0-0-0-1 – 2, 4, 3

BHS – 0-5-1-0-1-X – 7, 6, 0

WP: Landon Lucas. LP: Andrew Fulmer

Hitters: Blythewood – Josh Cowan 2-3, 2B. Landon Lucas 2B, Jansen Stokes 2B.

 CHAPIN 3, BLYTHEWOOD 1

BHS – 0-0-0-0-1 – 1, 4, 1

CHS – 2-0-0-1-X – 3, 2, 1

WP: William Privette. LP: Alex Canino

HITTERS: Blythewood –Michael Gregory 2B.

 


South Carolina Diamond Invitational Results

Wednesday

Game 1 –Lexington 2, T.L. Hanna 1

Game 2 – Wren 3, Dutch Fork 2

Game 3 – Blythewood 11, Wren 1

Game 4 – Chapin 3, Spartanburg 2

Game 5 – Dorman 3, Blythewood 0

Game 6 – Dorman vs. Dutch Fork, 10:45 p.m.

Thursday

Game 7 – Lexington 10, Spartanburg 2

Game 8 – Lexington 3, Chapin 3

Game 9 – Chapin 6,  T.L. Hanna 4

Game 10 – T.L. Hanna 8, Spartanburg 7

Game 11 –Dorman 2, Wren 0

Game 12 – Blythewood 7, Dutch Fork 2

Saturday

Game 13 – Spartanburg 5, Dutch Fork 0

Game 14 – T.L. Hanna 2, Wren 1

Game 15 – Chapin 3, Blythewood 1

Game 16 (Championship) – Dorman 10, Lexington 7