Baseball Playoffs: Fins win; Braves, Tigers, Chiefs falter

The St. James baseball team took its first step toward defending its Class AAA state title by knocking off Bluffton 7-5 in Thursday night’s opening round of the state playoffs.

The Sharks’ 1-2-3 hitters in the order had two hits apiece, going a combined  6-for-11 with three RBIs and four runs scored to do the bulk of the damage.

Caleb Duggan (2-for-4) scored twice and drove in one run, Carter Brakesfield (2-for-3) scored twice and Preston Lane (2-for-4) had two RBIs to lead the Sharks.

Lane also got the job done on the mound for the Sharks, scattering eight hits over seven innings and striking out five. The Bobcats scored three of their runs in the final inning to make the score sound closer than it really was.

* Berkeley 9, Socastee 6: The Braves lost their third consecutive game to fall into the losers’ bracket of the district tournament after being beaten by the Stags.

Berkeley jumped out to a 3-0 edge against Braves starter Kyle Smith in the second inning but Socastee rallied for four runs in the bottom of the frame thanks to a two-run double by Dalton Smith to take the lead.

Socastee relieved Smith with Carlos Fernandez in the third but Berkeley used three hits and a costly Socastee error to score four runs in the inning for a 7-4 advantage. The Braves never got closer the rest of the way.

Socastee’s Chase Keevert went 3-for-4 at the plate, but it wasn’t enough as the Braves fell into the lower alf of the double-elimination tournament. They play host to Georgetown on Saturday.

* Goose Creek 3, Conway 0: The Tigers suffered a tough home loss to the Gators in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs on Thursday.

Conway was limited to only two hits by Goose Creek ace Zach Lavery and never threatened, spoiling an otherwise strong outing by Conway pitcher Grant Holmes.

Holmes allowed one run in the third and exited with one out in the seventh inning, when the Gators tacked on two more runs. The Conway defense committed four errors to none for Goose Creek.

The Tigers will host North Augusta on Saturday in the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination district tournament.

* Hilton Head Island 10, North Myrtle Beach 4: The Chiefs’ were unable to overcome an early 5-0 deficit and fell to the losers’ bracket of the district tournament against the host Seahawks.

Hilton Head scored four runs in the first and added another in the second to take control early, but the Chiefs cut the deficit to 7-4 in the sixth to make things interesting. But the Seahawks tacked on three more insurance runs in the bottom of the frame to seal the deal.

North Myrtle Beach’s Billy Pippin took the loss as the Chiefs face an opponent to be determined in an elimination game.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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