Bengals shut out Ridge View; 3-run seventh lifts Bengals over Chapin

BLYTHEWOOD – As their Region 4-5A schedule comes to an end, the Blythewood baseball team handles its work on the mound with a quiet, cool precision.

Clearly visible is the confidence the Bengals have in one another, as visible as opponents striking out at the plate, as visible as the numbers on the scoreboard.

Blythewood closed out a doubleheader sweep of Ridge View Friday, winning the first game 8-1 and polishing off the Blazers 10-0 in the five-inning nightcap. It was the second and third straight wins over Ridge View last week, as the Bengals beat the Blazers 11-1 in five innings April 20.

“We liked the way we pitched throughout the week and it gave us a good chance for us to give some other guys some playing time,” Blythewood head coach Banks Faulkner said. “They work hard and it’s good to see them contribute. We’ve got a little more work to do, but it’s just about getting better and being ready for the big part of the season.”

Such is the way of Bengals Ball in 2021, where bunts and beating out the throws opens the door for doubles and base steals, and five-inning mercy rule closes the door on more than a few opponents.

In the first game, Blythewood scored two runs in the second inning, one in the third, two more in the fourth, one in the fifth, and two in the sixth. The Bengals gave up Ridge View’s only run of the night in the third inning.

Davis Wright went five innings to secure the game 1 win, scattering four hits and striking out seven while walking just one. Zac Cowan and Connor Weathers each worked an inning, striking out two Ridge View batters apiece.

Jacob Hardy got the game 2 victory, pitching four innings of 1-hit ball, striking out five and walking three. Watson Saunders struck out two in pitching the final frame.

“I feel like I had a good mound presence, but my fastball command wasn’t really that good,” Hardy said. “It’s just great with all the support I have. There’s so much energy here, so much excitement. Our team chemistry is through the roof.”

Blythewood got two runs in the first inning, three in the second, two in the third, and one in the fourth to build an 8-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.

The Bengals got their ninth run of the game on Watson Saunders’ 2-out lined double to left that scored Ty Dooley and put Caleb McCants, who got on with a walk, at third. Camden Watts went to the plate and popped a fly ball to left that the Ridge View fielder dropped, enabling McCants to score the 10th and final run of the game.

“It felt good,” Watts said about ending the game with his at-bat. “I didn’t hit it square all the way, but I got the job done.”

Nine of the Bengals’ 16 hits on the night went for extra bases, but the team’s savvy on the baselines counted for some runs as well. The team’s work ethic, whether in pitching, hitting, or defense, feeds into the good feelings.

“We have such a good team chemistry,” Watts said. “Every day, even in practice games, we all love to be here. We’re always cheering for each other no matter who’s playing, no matter who’s not.”

At Chapin Monday, the Bengals fell behind 1-0 in the third when Chapin’s Anson Merrick scored on Sam Greer’s 2-out single.  Blythewood didn’t score until top of the fifth inning, when Stephen Spittler took off from third base for home on Chapin rightfielder Gavin McMillan’s fielding error on Dooley’s single to right. 

McCants struck out to retire the side in the fifth, but the Bengals came back in good form in the final inning.

Blythewood loaded the bases on singles from Steelman, Spittler and Justin White. After Cowan flied out, Dooley lined a bases-clearing double to Greer in centerfield to make it 4-1 Bengals.

McCants popped out and Dooley got caught trying to steal third to end the inning, but Cowan took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and struck out the side to end the game.

“They’ve got a great program,” Faulkner said Friday. “They’ve been a little up and down this year, but they had a really great class graduate last year. They play in a really tough region, and I was telling our kids, they beat Lexington last week, they beat A.C. Flora, they’ve beaten River Bluff, so they’ve got some good quality wins.”

Blythewood (18-2, 9-0 Region 4-5A) plays host to Northwestern Friday and is at home against Rock Hill Tuesday.

Friday, Game 1

Blythewood – 0-2-1-2-1-2-0 – 8, 9, 2

Ridge View  – 0-0-1-0-0-0-0 – 1, 4, 3

WP: Davis Wright. LP: Conners.

Hitters: B – Zac Cowan 2-4. Caleb McCants 2-4, 2B, HR. Watson Saunders 2-4, 2B. Ty Dooley 2B. R – Harris 2-4, 2B.

Game 2

Ridge View  – 0-0-0-0-0 – 0, 1, 3

Blythewood – 2-3-2-1-2 – 10, 7, 0

WP: Jacob Hardy. LP: Guess.

Hitters: Caleb McCants 2-3, 2B. Zac Cowan 2B. Ty Dooley 2B. Watson Saunders 2B. Justin White 2B.

Monday

Blythewood – 0-0-0-0-1-0-3 – 4, 9, 2

Chapin – 0-0-1-0-0-0-0 – 1, 4, 2

WP: Zac Cowan.

Hitters: B – Stephen Spittler 2-2. Ty Dooley 2-4, 2B. Kevin Steelman 2-3, 2B. Justin White 2-3. C – Becker 2-3.

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