Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Weíve reached the gritty part of the playoffs that has sent all pretenders home.
The clock has struck midnight and Cinderella has left the building, leaving the mysterious glass slipper behind for her prince to find.
And while Prince Charming goes off in search of his Lady Fair, everyone else will be playing baseball.
Now is when things get serious.
Now is when you go to war and look forward to the battle.
Bring on Hartsville. Thatís what these BHS seniors want. They want Hartsville, and Socastee, and yes, even A.C. Flora with their stable of D1 prospects, for in order to be the best you have to beat the best.
The Stags baseball team has assembled an impressive collection of hardware for this group of seniors ó back-to-back Region 8AAA championships and now a second District VIII championship to go with a 2012 District VII championship.
These guys have played lights out baseball, yet for one reason or another - fatigue, a bad break, or running out of gas after the district championship, these Stags have fallen short of the big prize.
Not this year though.
Thereís no 20-game winning streak to contend with. The Stags got that out of the way early.
They are fresh. Rested. Relaxed. And worst of all for the opposition, confident.
These guys are driven, relentless, and to a man, they deserve mention around the horn: Kyle Garrick behind the plate, Connor Teague at short, Dylan Baker in left, Eric Orton in center and Josh Simpson in right. Kyle Morrison comes off the bench at DH, Josh Fiddie plays outfield and DHís, Jeffrey Stone on the hill just leads the Stag moundstaff with six wins and a microscopic 0.70 ERA, and letís not forget Sterling Fiddie, who had to hang it up due to a bum shoulder at the start of the year, but without whom the 2012 District VII title would have been impossible.
These Stags are a state championship contending team. They are Coach Landy Coxís monster and this monsterís on a rampage.
These seniors are hungry and they want to go out feasting all the all-you-can-eat-buffet that is the rest of Class AAA.
Itís not going to be an easy meal though.
There are some good baseball teams remaining in the mix with a full stable of D1 prospects and committees.
The Stags square off against District V champion Socastee on Monday (results not availabe at press time) and if they win out on Wednesday and Friday, will play for the Lower State championship on Monday, May 19.
When you get to this part of the state tournament there are nothing but champions remaining.
Berkeley is ranked fourth in the state so I havenít let any cats out of the bag about how good this team is, though Iím sure the rest of Class AAA - certainly the eight teams that have survived the chiming of midnight when Cinderellaís carriage turned back into a pumpkin, they know.
They wouldnít be here if they didnít.
Come out to Jim Bradley Field this week. Youíre going to see some good baseball played.
Iíve been waiting all year for this.