Hartsville Baseball opens Playoffs with win

By Don Gearhart

In the first round of the South Carolina High School playoffs, the Sharks from May River, made the long bus ride to Jimmy White Park in hopes their trip back home would be sweetened by knocking off the host, Hartsville Red Foxes.

The game started with neither team denting the scoreboard.  May River got a two-out baserunner when Trace Mischik got hit by a pitch.  He was erased trying to steal second base.  Hartsville got two runners aboard in their half of the first when Jackson Moore walked with two outs and Mckendrie Douglas got plunked by a pitch.  A fielder’s choice thwarted any scoring chance.

The Sharks opened the second inning with promise as Davis Rose walked and Joseph Schroeder ripped a single to right moving Rose to third.  Aaron Guthrie then lined what looked to be a base hit but was robbed on a diving catch by Douglas who then scrambled to his feet to double off Schroeder.  A come-backer to pitcher, John Alexander, retired the side.  Junior Barnes walked to start the Red Foxes in the second.  He was sacrificed to second on Jaden Atkinson’s bunt.  An out later, Brandon Anderson hit an opposite-field double to bring Barnes across the plate and give Hartsville the early 1-0 lead.

May River answered back with two runs of their own in the third inning.  Tanen Mankowski walked and Tysen Brasington singled moving Mankowski to third.  Will Corn hit a slow roller to second base for a fielder’s choice RBI.  Then, Mischik lined a single to center to score Brasington.  Moore led off the Hartsville third with a double.  Douglas followed with a base hit, then stole second to put two runners in scoring position.  Andrew Askins grounded to short allowing Moore to score.  Barnes got aboard when his pop fly to shallow left was dropped.  With two outs, Brandon Harrison walked to load the bases.  When Anderson’s grounder to short was thrown away at first, both Douglas and Barnes scored on the error and the Red Foxes enjoyed a 4-2 advantage after three innings.

Schroeder blasted a double over the center fielder’s head to start the Sharks fourth but Alexander retired the next three batters to end the threat.  Hartsville added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth.  Dawson Mckimmey started off with a walk and moved to second when Moore grounded out hard to first base.  Douglas got hit by a pitch for the second time.  Askins lashed a base hit RBI to bring Mckimmey home.  A sacrifice fly off the bat of Jaden Atkinson allowed Douglas to score and increase the Red Foxes lead to 6-2.

Dawson Lloyd replaced Alexander on the mound and surrendered two base-on-balls before striking out the cleanup hitter, Rose, to end the inning.  Anderson walked in the bottom of the fifth for Hartsville and was sacrificed to second by Grayson Weekley.  Moore was hit by a pitch to put two runners aboard but no further damage was done.

Shroeder garnered his third hit of the game to start May River off in the top of the sixth inning.  He advanced to second on a fielder’s choice.  With two outs, Gustavo Gomez laced a single to right and Anderson came up throwing to nail Schroeder at the plate for the third out.  Hartsville put the first two runners aboard when Askins walked and Barnes stroked a base hit.  The next three batters hit the ball hard, but right at May River defenders.

After Lloyd struck out the first batter in the top of the seventh inning, Hartsville brought in Anderson to close the door.  The second out of the inning occurred on a nice defensive play from Anderson on a ball headed up the middle.  Will Corn doubled to keep the Sharks hopes alive.  He scored on a base hit from Rose.  Schroeder then laced a single to right for an RBI to make the score 6-4 in favor of Hartsville.  But, thinking the throw would go to home, Schroeder was nailed trying to take second base to end the game.

Hartsville was outhit 9-5 but benefited from three errors, seven walks and four hit-by-pitch in the game.

Alexander was the winning pitcher for the Red Foxes allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three and walking two.

Author: Stephan Drew

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