St. John’s Christian’s baseball team appears to be hitting its stride at just the right time.
The Cavaliers won for the fifth straight game on April 23, edging Jefferson Davis 7-4. The streak sends them into the postseason with a full head of steam.
Once six games below .500, the Cavaliers are 7-8 as the first round of the playoffs dawn on April 29 (after press time). They take on Wardlaw, with Game 1 in Moncks Corner.
“I felt like this was going to be a good year,” Cavaliers coach Thomas Brittle said. “It has definitely been a success. We have the talent to make a playoff run if we come with the right approach and the right mindset.”
Game 2 in the best-of-3 series is set for April 30 at Wardlaw and the rubber game would be May 2 in Moncks Corner. The second round is May 6, 7 and 9. A championship series would be May 13, 14 and 16.
The playoffs mark the final moments in the program for five Cavaliers seniors, including leading hitter second baseman Cooper Moorer. More seniors are third baseman Collin Robertson, first baseman Dylan Parsons, centerfielder Bryce Butler and relief pitcher Matt Atchley.
Brittle said all five have played an important role in helping St. John’s Christian get the program back on track. The Cavs had been on a postseason drought before the hot streak landed them a playoff spot.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Brittle said.
Right fielder Hagen Gregory, an eighth grader, is the second leading hitter.
On the bump, sophomore Josh Legnard and eighth grader Gavin Driggers have taken up the lion’s share of the innings, going for 35 and 32 innings respectively. The next closest hurler is 17 innings.
“They’ve made it real easy on us,” Brittle said. “We know we can get five-plus innings from them and then turn it over to our other guys.”
In the most recent win over Jefferson Davis, Atchley got the win in relief and Legnard locked in the save, getting the final six outs after the Cavaliers struck for five runs in the top of the sixth to rally from a 4-2 deficit.
Junior Evan Mizzell knocked in two runs for St. John’s Christian and Robertson scored twice.
In the game before, a 7-5 win over Holly Hill Academy on April 12, Mizzell drove in three runs and Legnard scored twice. Driggers was the winning pitcher, scattering seven hits over six innings. He struck out two, walked two and gave up three earned runs.
Legnard tossed the seventh, striking out a pair in garnering the save.
The Cavaliers clipped Patrick Henry 7-5 on April 3. Moorer collected a pair of hits and knocked in three runs. Gregory chipped in two base knocks and scored twice. Mizzell also scored twice.
Legnard was the winning pitcher, scattering eight hits over six innings. He struck out eight, walked two and allowed two earned runs.
Freshman Conner Lockliear recorded the save.
“We had a really tough schedule early,” Brittle said. “We were throwing some young guys in the fire. We competed but we couldn’t quite get the big hit when we needed it. The last five games we’ve put it all together.”
Additional players are sophomore Nick Jimenez, junior Fletcher Law, eighth grader AJ Legette, freshman Jaden Bradley, junior Logan Robinson and junior Derek Shoemaker.