Baseball: Braves blast past Hanahan in opening round

socbase-cuylerThe top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Socastee High baseball team began its bid for a repeat trip to the Class A Lower State Finals on Friday with a convincing 7-1 victory over visiting Hanahan in the first round of the District 5 tournament.

The Braves (22-4) exploded for five runs in the first inning to set the tone early. Socastee tallied on six hits for the game but took full advantage of Hanahan’s three errors.

Socastee’s Dalton Smith went 2-for-3 and Buck Bacot and Brandon Cuyler drove in two runs apiece to lead the Braves. Starting pitcher Austin Schmitz lasted five solid innings, limiting Hanahan to only four hits while striking out seven.

Sam McKinney pitched a scoreless sixth in relief of Schmitz and Kyle Smith struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh to close out the game for the Braves, who will host the winner of Strom Thurmond and Darlington on Monday.

* Hilton Head 6, Myrtle Beach 5: The Seahawks lost a 10-inning heartbreaker to host Hilton Head in Friday’s first round of the District 6 tournament.

Myrtle Beach led throughout the game but saw Hilton Head twice rally from behind to force extra innings. Tied at 3-3 after nine frames, the Seahawks scored a pair of runs in the top of the 10th only to see Hilton Head battle back for three in the bottom of the inning.

Myrtle Beach’s Brandon Sinclair hit a two-run triple in the fifth to put the Seahawks up 3-0 but they couoldn’t hold the lead. Myrtle Beach faces Midland Valley on Monday in an elimination game.

* Berkeley 9, St. James 1: The third-seeded Sharks suffered a first-round loss in the District 8 tournament on the road to the second-seeded Stags.

Berkeley pounded out 12 hits, including a three-run eruption in the fourth and a five-run explosion in the fifth inning that broke open a close game. The Sharks were limited to only four hits.

St. James will face the loser of Friday’s Airport-Marlboro County matchup in an elimination game on Monday.

Photo by Shannon Keevert

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