WHS baseball finishes region on high note, falls in playoffs

COLUMBIA – The Westwood baseball team (8-11) needed a win over Richland Northeast in the last Region 5-4A game of the season Friday, and the Redhawks got it.

Westwood rallied for three runs in the third inning, and rallied again for five runs in the fourth inning to take out the Cavaliers 9-6 and secure an at-large playoff spot in the 8-team, double-elimination Bracket 1 of the lower state tournament.

Down 2-1 going into the third, Xavier Johnson led off the inning getting hit by a pitch. Nathan Caldwell and Austin Jeffcoat hit back-to-back one-out singles to load the bases. Johnson scored on a wild pitch to Gabriel Espinosa, and then Espinosa singled pinch runners S Caldwell and R Gilbert to clear the bases and give Westwood a 4-2 lead.

RNE scored two runs in the top of the fourth to even the score at 4-4, but in the bottom of that frame the Redhawks cashed in on five runs on just one hit—Cavaliers pitcher Daniel Scipio walked two and hit one Westwood batter, and the RNE defense made two errors to keep the inning alive.

Kendell Gandy pitched 5 2/3 innings, scattering seven hits, striking out five and walking four to get the win. Remy Gilbert pitched 1/3 inning and Brandon Grindstaff a full inning to help secure the victory.

In Monday’s playoff opener at South Florence, the No.5 seed Bruins blanked the 12th seeded Redhawks 10-0 in five innings.

Xavier DeJesus had the Redhawks’ only hit of the evening. Hunter McClary and Luke Miller homered for South Florence, and Wyatt Williams went 20-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI. Noah Moore also had two hits.

Westwood played at Hilton Head, which fell 10-3 to Greer Monday, in an elimination game Wednesday.

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