Westwood baseball, softball top RNE, secure postseason spots

Westwood honored 13 seniors on Tuesday. Standing, from left: JaQuez Scarborough, John Janco, Zach Gore, Colby Linn, Kevin Harris, Bryce Breeden, Liam Ginnery. Front: Camren Brown, Eric Jenkins, Josh Henegan, Samuel Williams and Donnie Weston. | Leroy Howard

BLYTHEWOOD – The Westwood baseball bats were largely silenced with the pitching of Richland Northeast ace Andrew Peck Tuesday night.

The same was true with Redhawks ace John Janco, who kept the Cavaliers quiet through seven innings of work.

A hit batter was all it took for Westwood to secure a 2-1 Region 4-4 A victory—and a playoff berth. Peck’s errant pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth inning hit Xavier DeJesus, who came to bat with two outs.

DeJesus took his base and drove in Zach Gore, who led off the inning with a single. After Peck rallied to strike out Donnie Weston to retire the side, Janco took the mound in the seventh and struck out three straight Richland Northeast batters for the win.

Seniors Alivia Hodges, Erin Wilson and Hayden Blalock | Leroy Howard

“He always rises up to the occasion of a big game,” Westwood head coach Mike McDermott said. “I’ve been back and forth for the past week and a half, do I pitch John against Andrew Peck because I knew he was their ace. So I went with an ace for an ace and let the chips fall where they may. He came out and he did his job. I couldn’t be happier.”

Westwood’s continuing struggles at getting runs across—the Redhawks stranded 10 on the basepaths, five in scoring position—Janco took the situation in stride. He gave up a hit in each of the first four innings but held Richland Northeast hitless in the final three. He struck out 12 and walked none.

Janco’s mound presence clearly shadowed an otherwise strong effort from Peck. The Cavaliers hurler worked six full innings and gave up two hits in the first five innings. He struck out nine but walked four and hit two batters.

 “He did that to us last year too, he doesn’t give up a lot of hits,” McDermott said. “We got runners on base again, kind of the story of our season, runners left on base, but at least we took advantage of what we had in the end.”

Westwood scored in the bottom of the first after Peck loaded the bases on two walks and Janco’s bunt single. Liam Ginnery popped out but DeJesus came home on Zach Gore’s sacrifice fly.

Peck cut off any more runs when he struck out Micah Henryhand to retire the side.

The Redhawks had to men on base in the third and fourth inning, but Peck and the Richland Northeast defense closed out those innings without a score.

The Cavaliers tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the top of the third.

It was only in the sixth inning that Westwood seemed to get to a tired Peck. Westwood led off that inning with three straight singles from Gore, Henryhand and Colby Linn.

Yet with the bases loaded and nobody out, Westwood stumbled at getting the go-ahead run across. Peck struck out Cam Brown and Sam Williams to put DeJesus in a 2-out, bases loaded batting situation.

As it turned out, the ace let the batter off the hook in anticlimactic fashion, but for the Redhawks in the dugout and the Westwood crowd in the bleachers, a hit batter with the bases loaded was as good as the furthest solo home run.

“We’ve got to work a little on bunt execution stuff, but for the most part I’m real happy with how we played tonight,” McDermott said.

Westwood (11-11, 3-6) is at RNE Thursday. The Redhawks still have some goals to address.

“We set a bunch of goals at the beginning of the year. The first one was making the playoffs, which we did tonight. We wanted to win our preseason tournament, we did that,” McDermott said. “The next goal was finishing the regular season with a winning record. Right now we’re 11-11. We’ve still got something to play for. We’re going to treat this like another playoff game. We’re going to go there and do what we need to do, and see (next week) if we can scratch out our first playoff win.”

At the softball field, Westwood (11-8, 4-5) put up 14 runs in the first inning and closed out a 16-0 shutout of the Cavaliers in three innings, with the game stopped because of the 15-run mercy rule. The win also secures a fourth-place finish in the region and a fourth-seeding in the 4A playoffs, which begin Wednesday.

Before the upper state District 3 tournament opens, Westwood will play at Richland Northeast today and at North Central Monday.


RNE  – 0-0-1-0-0-0-0 — 1, 4, 0

WHS – 1-0-0-0-0-1-X — 2, 5, 1

WP: John Janco. LP: Andrew Peck.

Hitters: W – Donnie Weston 2B.


WHS –  0-6-2-1-1   — 10, 8, 2

C.A. Johnson –  0-1-0-0 — 1, 4, 4

WP: C Brown LP: Dent.

Hitters: W – Xavier DeJesus 2-3, 3 RBI. Zach Gore 2-2, 2 RBI.


WHS – 3-2-1-0-0-4-0 — 10, 11, 1

FCHS – 3-0-4-0-3-1-0 — 11, 10 ,6

WP: Rylan Woodard. LP: Gabriel Espinosa

Hitters: W – Xavier DeJesus 2-5. Liam Ginnery 3-5 3B. Zach Gore 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI. John Janco 3B. Gabriel Espinosa 2B. F – Blake Gambrell 2-4, 2B. Kelton Mobley 2-3. Graeme Douglas 2-3, 2 RBI. Curtis Sampson 2-3, 2B, HR, 4 RBI.


WHS – 4-1-0-0-0-4-2 — 11, 12, 2

Irmo – 2-0-1-0-0-1-0 — 4, 8, 1

WP: Colby Linn LP: Seth Johnson

Hitters: W –Donnie Weston 2-3, 3B, 2RBI. John Janco 2-5, 2 RBI. Xavier DeJesus 2-4. Colby Linn HR. I – Rivers 2-4. McCarty 2-4. 



RNE – 0-0-0 — 0, 0, 2

WHS – 14-2-X  — 16, 9, 0

WP: Makayla Drakeford. LP: Hallie Palmer.

Hitters: W – Jada McConnell 2-2, 2B. Taryn Jenkins 2-2, 2B. Erin Wilson 2-2. Jada McConnell 2B. Alivia Hodges 3B.


WHS – 1-2-0-0-1-1-4  — 9, 6, 9

SVHS – 0-0-0-5-3-0-2 — 10, 7, 12

WP: Emma Wargel LP: Makayla Drakeford.

Hitters: W – Taryn Jenkins 2-3, 3B. Azaria Belton 3B. S – Ashley Gunn 3-4, 2B (2), 3B. Cydney Cooper HR.


WHS – 0-1-1-0-1-1-1  — 5, 9, 4

PHS – 0-0-0-0-1-0-1– 2, 2, 5

WP: Koreena Scott LP: K Otey

Hitters: W – Erin Wilson 2-3, 2 RBI. Taryn Jenkins 2-4, 3B. Taylor Blevines 3B.


WHS –  1-1-3-2-1-2-2  — 12, 14, 2

IRMO – 4-2-0-2-5-0-X — 13, 10, 7

WP: Makayla Davis LP: Anna Graves

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