Eagles move to semi-final game

Landon Caulder (10) picked up the win on the mound in four innings of work. | Martha Ladd

Since publishing this story, Richard Winn defeated Dorchester 4-3 in Wednesdays Upper State game to advance to the SCISA A State Title Series.

The series will be a best-of-three, to be played Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, if needed. Opponent and location have yet to be announced.

See our May 19 issue for a detailed story on the Upper State win.

WINNSBORO – Richard Winn experienced another bizarre baseball game this season, this time against the visiting Holly Hill Raiders in round 2 of 1A Upper State playoffs. It was a stop-and-start event featuring weather and power outage delays along with lots of hits, runs scored, and errors made by both teams. Even though the Raiders outhit the Eagles 12 to 10, 10 total errors were committed, eight batters were hit by pitches, six pitching changes were made, yet the Eagles managed to cross the plate five more times to seal the 16-11 victory to remain undefeated in playoff action as well as overall(16-0-1).

The Raiders from Holly Hill Academy got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning with a solo homer to center field by Watkins. Their next batter, Hufham, singled and advanced to second on the throw. Teammate Soles singled two batters later to score Hufham before the third out was recorded. HH took the early 2-0 lead with the Eagles coming to bat in the bottom of the two.

The Eagles went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, and the Raiders used momentum to pick up two more runs on a single and a 2-run homer by Rudd in the top of three. The Eagle defense picked up a double play in the inning and a ground out that halted the Raiders further scoring. The visitors stretched their early lead to 4-0 with RWA coming to bat.

The Raiders’ defensive wheels seemed to fall off in the bottom of three as Miller Stuck led off with a ground ball hit and reached base on the Raiders’ third error of the game. B Baker was hit by a pitch to get on base, and then Jacob Chaisson drew a walk. With bases loaded, Austin Lancaster advanced to first as another hit batter, and Stuck scored. Next Rob Wilson singled, and both Baker and Chaisson scored, but Travis Bonds, courtesy runner for Lancaster, got thrown out advancing to third. With one out, the Eagles were back in the game and only down by 1 run, 3-4. The next three Eagle batters, Brian King, Landon Caulder, and Lawson Wade, all singled. Wade’s single to right field scored King and Caulder, and he advanced to third on the Raider throwing error. RWA took the lead 6-4 and never relinquished it. The Eagles went on to tack on two more runs before the inning ended. The big eight run inning put the Eagles up 8-4 at the end of three.

The Raiders answered back with one run in the top of the fourth, but the Eagles built on their 8-5 lead in the bottom half of the inning to score five runs and boost their lead to 13-5. The runs resulted from two back-to-back walks, a single by Berry Bonds, and Stuck’s hit by pitch with bases loaded that advanced courtesy runner Charlie Bonds to score. Wade scored on a wild pitch, and Baker doubled to right field to send B. Bonds and Stuck across the plate. Before the inning ended, Lancaster hit a two-bagger to center field to score Baker. With darkness quickly approaching and still no power to light the field, the umpires halted the game temporarily until the power could be restored to resume the game.

After over an hour delay, play resumed, and Holly Hill jumped back into the game with three runs in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back hit batsmen and back-to-back walks in the bottom half of the inning gave the Eagles an additional run. The score going into the top of six was RW 14 – HH 8.

Three Eagle errors in a row allowed a Raider run to score before the Eagles turned a double play. However, another Raider run came as a result of a wild pitch to cut into the Eagle lead, RW 14- HH 10.

Doubles by Wilson and Wade, a single by King, and a balk by Holly Hill’s pitcher T. Wright produced two more insurance runs for RW going into the seventh..

The Raiders faced a six run deficit (16-10) going into their final at bat. An Eagle error and two HH singles gave the Raiders another run and a little hope, but the Eagles quickly pulled it together and extinguished their fire to capture the 16-11 victory.

Caulder pitched to 23 Raider batters during his 4 innings on the hill. He threw 45 strikes of 71 pitches, and was charged with 9 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks, and 2 strikeouts. After the fourth inning break, Wilson came in as Caulder’s reliever and pitched to the last 16 batters, with 36 of 46 strikes, 4 runs scored, and 2 strikeouts. The Raiders used four pitchers.

Moving down to the losers’ bracket, Holly Hill then lost again to Dorchester Academy in Monday’s elimination game. The Eagles, with no playoff losses, hosted the Dorchester Raiders on Wednesday at Billy Ladd Field in the double elimination Upper State title bracket. If the Eagles were to lose on Wednesday, the two teams would compete again on Thursday to determine who would advance to the state title series beginning on Monday, May 16.  Wednesday’s results were not available as of press time.

“I give our guys credit for overcoming all of the distractions that were thrown at us throughout the entire game,” head coach Paul Brigman said. “All of the stopping and starting could have caused us to lose focus, but our guys were able to play well enough to get the win. Offensively, we continued to hit good pitching very well, and our bats thankfully took the pressure off of our defense. Defensively we must become more consistent if we are going to continue to move on in the playoff tournament. Overall though, we are excited about playing well enough to continue moving on and will be prepared to play much better defensively in our next game.”

A win on Wednesday would send the Eagles into the State Championship three-game series against the Lower State champion. That series will be played on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of next week.

HH – 0-2-2-1-3-2-1 – 11, 12, 4

RW  – 0-0-8-5-1-2-X – 16, 10, 6

WP: Caulder. S: Wilson. LP: Hufham

Hitters: Baker 1-3, 2B, RBI (2); Lancaster 1-3, 2B, RBI (3); Wilson 2-5, 2B, RBI (2); King 2-5, RBI; Caulder 1-3; Wade 2-3, 2B, RBI; B.Bonds 1-3: Stuck RBI (2).

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