By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
MYRTLE BEACH, SC — It wouldn’t be a Spring Break road trip without a little bit of Myrtle Beach magic.
For the Lions of Wellsville, they found themselves down by a single run heading into the last frame of play against Chattanooga Christian Academy from Tennessee. In a seventh inning that would witness the Lions being pushed to the edge on their final strike, a big moment on special teams would arise.
After scoring the game-tying run on a wild pitch to the back stop, history would repeat itself one more time during Andrew Ordway’s at-bat, as one more wild pitch found its way to the backstop to score the game-winning tally for Wellsville to pick up their second win at North Myrtle Beach High School, as they squeezed past Chattanooga Christian Academy with a 6-5 edge in walk-off fashion.
Through the first three innings, the Lions (2-1) battled right alongside Chattanooga Christian Academy, accounting for a run in each frame to trail by a 4-3 count. The back-and-forth exchange progressed forward until the seventh, where the Lions were presented with an opportunity to turn the tide at the very last moment.
With the final tenure at the plate beginning with a strikeout, a single launched by Cooper Brockway provided the game-tying run for Wellsville. Karson Grover would then add in the potential game-winning run himself by way of a double to the outfield. With both advancing towards second and third with two outs, two opportunities to score massive damage on special teams were taken at full force.
As a result, both Brockway and Grover found their way in to give the Lions a magnificent victory to keep the momentum in their favor heading into their final game of the trip, which will begin today at a time and opponent to be determined.
As for Brockway, he would help twirl a six-inning gem for the Lions on the rubber, fanning six and walking one while reaching base all four times, collecting two of the team’s seven hits while climbing aboard with two walks, and scoring two runs. Logan Dunbar added in a triple.
“We didn’t play a real clean game with five errors, but I give my starting pitcher all the credit. Cooper was a workhorse today, despite the errors behind him. He was doing a great job standing his ground, and he kept us in it with a chance to win,” said Lions coach Tom Delahunt. “He was on base all four times today, which is huge. If I had a chance to give out Player of the Game, he would get it with his beastly performance. I told the kids that even though it wasn’t our best game, we shut them down towards the end and we made the plays when it mattered the most.”
Chattanooga Christian 202 100 0 – 5 4 0
Wellsville 111 010 2 – 6 7 5
Wellsville 6, Chester (S.C.) 1
MYRTLE BEACH, SC — 24 hours after the Lions of Wellsville fell under the spell of a no-hit performance against their first piece of opposition down south, the chance to rebound was soon on the horizon. On Tuesday, their second game saw an explosion.
After an early deficit to South Carolina’s Chester High School, the bats re-emerged to deal some massive damage. Down by a single run through the first inning, Wellsville pieced together a five-run bonanza that saw five straight hits from the middle of their lineup come through in the clutch, propelling them forward into the lead where they would set until the game’s end, as they leaned on Karson Grover to lock up the win on the hill for his first career Varsity triumph by a 6-1 count at Carolina Forest High School.
“Coming into this tournament, I was a little nervous about how many games we had to play and whether or not we would have enough pitching,” said Lions coach Tom Delahunt. “Karson gave us exactly what we needed. His strong outing today has set up our pitching plans for the days ahead, and we could not be in a much better spot. We have almost everyone available for our last two games here in Myrtle, and it’s because of him. He came up with big pitches in big spots to get us out of jams.”
With a 1-0 lead in the wagon for Chester through the opening frame of play, the Lions (1-1) would have to weave their way through a scoreless stand on both sides of the field to ultimately catch fire to their bats in the bottom of the second, accounting for five big runs to take the lead away, ultimately for good.
Starting with a lead-off single from Cooper Brockway.
“It’s great to get a win under your belt. It’s the first, and on a long trip like this, you come all this way and you want to have some of that success,” Delahunt said. “We were able to string the hits together to have our big inning, especially the middle and end of the lineup. Cooper led us off with a single up the middle, and everyone else followed behind. It was a great start, and we didn’t really look back from there.”
Amongst the highlights: A pair of first career Varsity hits for both Grover and Andrew Ordway, as they assisted a Wellsville attack that consisted of eight hits at the plate. Adding help along the way was Ty Vogel, who blasted a massive triple. At the front of the pack, Aidan Riley went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored.
On the mound, Grover was superb with seven strikeouts and two walks through his first career start that stretched across five innings. Derek Coleman and Ty Vogel combined to add in three more strikeouts and one walk across the final two innings in relief to officially put away Wellsville’s first win of the season.
The Lions will now head for North Myrtle Beach High School for their final two games down south over the break, with their first beginning at 11:30 a.m. this afternoon, as they prepare to take on Chattanooga.
Chester 100 000 0 – 1 5 0
Wellsville 050 100 X – 6 8 0
Silverdale Academy (TN) 10, Wellsville 0
LORIS, SC — The Lions of Wellsville were also paying a visit to the Myrtle Beach area on Monday to begin their Spring Break trip, as they squared off an elite squad in the shape of Silverdale Academy representing Tennessee.
While Logan Dunbar, Gavin Haggerty and Derek Coleman provided some excellent pitching for the Lions on the hill, Silverdale Academy was able to capitalize on almost everything they were presented with from start to finish, scoring seven of their 10 runs in the first two innings of play to set the tone immediately. On defense, they were able to hold Wellsville without a single hit, as they finished off a dominant 10-0 shutout.
“We ran into a buzz saw today. It’s a great thing to play on some great, maintained fields against some tough competition. Today wasn’t how we wanted to start our season, and this team from Tennessee was outstanding,” said Lions coach Tom Delahunt. “It was their 14th game of the season, and this was our first. But having this opportunity to play down here, it will help us get ready for our schedule for when we come back home next week.”
Logan Dunbar recorded four strikeouts and walked one during his tenure that stretched into the fourth inning for Wellsville (0-1). In relief, Gavin Haggerty added in three strikeouts of his own to help further the defensive cause.
The Lions will try again this morning at Carolina Forest High School in Myrtle Beach, as they prepare to face Chester in a 10 a.m. first pitch.
Silverdale Academy 250 30 – 10 8 0
Wellsville 000 00 – 0 0 4
SA – Turner Junkins (WP) (CG, 10K) and Bennet Reagan.
WLSV – Logan Dunbar (LP) (4K, BB), Gavin Haggerty (4) (3K), Derek Coleman (5) and Alex Green.
Powell County (KY) 13, Bolivar-Richburg 0 (F-5)
MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Not often do you see the Bolivar-Richburg Wolverines fall behind their opposition on the baseball diamond. When it came to their road trip down south for their first contest in Myrtle Beach, they were tested straight out of the gate on Tuesday.
Kentucky’s Powell County came, saw and conquered the opening sequences with ease against the Wolverines, posting an eight-run implosion that saw them set the tone, paving the way towards what was a no-hit performance against the reigning four-peat Section V Champions, taking a 13-0 decision after five innings.
Despite the defeat, the Wolverines (0-1) saw some excellent pitching from Caden Allen in relief, as he took on the rubber after Trey Buchholz made his season debut part way into the first inning, delivering with nine strikeouts and one walk. Buchholz would finish with two walks, as Powell County collected 13 total runs off nine hits at the plate.
Bolivar-Richburg returns to action this morning against Lexington Christian Academy, also representing Kentucky, at 11:30 a.m.
Powell County 801 04 – 13 9 0
Bolivar-Richburg 000 00 – 0 0 6
Lexington Christian (KY) 6, Bolivar-Richburg 2
MYRTLE BEACH, SC — The Bolivar-Richburg Wolverines gave a fierce and electric opponent in Kentucky’s Lexington Christian Academy a run for their money all the way to the end, taking a narrow lead down the homestretch. But a big finish in what would be their final at-bats on the night, propelled Lexington Christian over the top to take a 6-2 decision at the end of the night on Wednesday.
“It was night and day between yesterday and today. I was really happy with our performance, and of course, there’s room for improvement,” said Wolverines coach Dustin Allen. “Landon (Barkley) in his first Varsity start was outstanding. He kept a great team from Kentucky off-balance all game. Overall, we knew the trip was going to give us great baseball. That’s what we saw, and I think we’re leaving here knowing that we need to get better as the season goes on. It was a great team-bonding activity, and it was a great step forward.”
The Wolverines (0-2) totaled both runs off four hits, with the RBIs coming off the bats of Trey Buchholz and Caden Allen, with Buchholz tying the game at one with his RBI single into right field to score Evan Pinney. The game would remain tied all the way until the sixth inning when the team in black and red found a way to take the lead away from Lexington Christian.
That opportunity would come off a major special teams play from Allen, skying a sacrifice out to deep right field to bring in Buchholz. But the newly-garnered advantage was short-lived, as Lexington Christian rebounded with the game’s biggest response — a five-run bottom half of the frame in what was their final at-bats, propelling their way to the top and towards victory in the end.
Despite the defeat, Landon Barkley delivered a magnificent six-inning start for Bolivar-Richburg, striking out seven. Reiss Gaines would add a strikeout along the way in his relief appearance. Pinney was the leading hitter for the Wolverines, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. David Baldwin chipped in with the team’s final hit.
The Wolverines will journey their way back north and prepare for another road trip on Tuesday, visiting Genesee Valley/Belfast in a 5 p.m. first pitch at the Rich Sullivan Complex in Belfast.
Bolivar-Richburg 001 001 0 – 2 4 3
Lexington Christian 010 005 X – 6 6 2