Redhawks beat Irmo, fall to RNE

BLYTHEWOOD – The Westwood baseball team needed two wins against Richland Northeast this week to have an outside shot at a fourth place finish in Region 5-4A and getting a fourth seed in the 4A playoffs next week.

The Cavaliers, securely in third place behind first-place A.C. Flora and second place Lugoff-Elgin, all but denied the Redhawks that chance Tuesday night.

Westwood gave up four runs in the third inning and eight more in the fourth as RNE closed out a 12-2 win in five innings.

The loss means Thursday’s home game against the Cavaliers is all the more important—if the Redhawks (7-10, 2-7) miss out on the fourth spot in the region, they could possibly land an at-large bid to the 4A district tournaments round that begins Monday.

“That’s what we’re going to have to hope  

 for,” Westwood head coach Nathan Caldwell said. “With 12 runs being put up on us today doesn’t help, but if we can minimize the runs and put a good showing on Thursday, then we’ll have to wait and see what the High School League says.”

Westwood and RNE went through two scoreless innings, and at the top of the third the Redhawks chased starting pitcher Andrew Peck from the mound.

“When you get a pitcher like Peck out after the first and second innings, you’ve got to capitalize,” Caldwell said. “He pitches pretty well, he’s going to Newberry College, but today he didn’t have his on day, and you’ve got to capitalize. We got past him and our bats just went dead.”

Peck, a Newberry College commit, walked Jayden Quarles with one out, hit Nate Caldwell with a pitch with two out, and walked Austin Jeffcoat, Gabriel Espinosa, and Micah Henryhand. Those free bases gave Westwood a 2-0 lead when Jalen Scott took the mound from his position in the outfield.

Scott got Brandon Grindstaff to fly out to end the inning.

What looked favorable for the Redhawks midway through the game soon turned foul in the bottom of the third.

Westwood starting pitcher Xavier Johnson worked two easy innings but gave up four runs on three hits and a Redhawks error in that frame.

Scott reached on an error and Will O’Bradovich drew a walk. Peck, still in the lineup as an outfielder, lashed out a single to score Scott. With two out, Bryson Nesmith and Sincere Caldwell hit back-to-back RBI singles. Nesmith later stole home as Wesley Hayes batted to make it 4-2 Cavaliers.

Hayes grounded out to end the inning, but Scott pitched a scoreless fourth inning and RNE collected eight runs on five hits and three more Westwood errors to go up 12-2.

Westwood got two baserunners in the top of the fifth, but Scott pitched another scoreless inning for the win on the 10-run mercy rule.

“Defensively we didn’t make the plays in the outfield that we should have made,” Caldwell said. “Things like that can’t happen, but we’re rebuilding. You’re going to have the growing pains, and once we get past this, this is going to be a pretty special ball club. Tonight just didn’t represent that.”

WESTWOOD 7, IRMO 1

IRMO – 1-0-0-0-0-0-0 – 1, 5, 5

WHS – 0-0-0-0-0-7-X – 7, 4, 3

W: Kendell Gandy.

WHS: Austin Jeffcoat 2 RBI.

WHS 2, BLS 7

WHS – 0-0-0-0-0-0-2 – 2, 3, 3

BLS – 2-0-0-2-3-0-X – 7, 9, 1

W: Mikah Conner.

BLS: Bo Morris 2-3. Mason O’Cain 2-3. Mikah Conner 2B.

WHS 2, RNE 12

WHS – 0-0-2-0-0 – 2, 2, 5

RNE – 0-0-4-8-X – 12, 9, 0

W: Jalen Scott.

RNE: Sincere Caldwell 3-3. Andrew Peck 2-2, 2B, 3 RBI. Jalen Scott 2B. Daniel Scipio 2B.

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