Braves blast Sharks, win Mingo Bay championship

Socastee scored a decisive 11-1 victory over St. James in Friday’s championship game of the Mingo Bay Classic.

But the big game between the neighboring rivals – a potential showdown for the Region VIII-AAA title –  remains to be played.

In the matchup of two local teams in the title game of the national tournament, this game was lopsided from the very start.

The Sharks (15-5, 8-0 region) scored their lone run in the first inning when Preston Lane drove in Caleb Duggan, but the Braves (17-3, 7-1) responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame and never looked back.

Socastee’s Charlie Nicholson hit a grand slam to cap a four-run second inning, then he added a solo shot in the fourth to make it an 8-1 advantage. He was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Walker Darnell’s homer highlighted the fifth inning, when Socastee scorted three more runs to enact the mercy rule and capture the Mingo Bay Classic championship.

Socastee starting pitcher Carlos Fernandez settled down after the rocky first inning, scattering a total of four hits over five innings while striking out three batters.

Joey Toiano took the loss for St. James as the Braves pounded out 10 hits against the Sharks. Hunter Renfrow went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Chase Keevert was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate.

Socastee returns to region play next week with a big game at home on Tuesday night against North Myrtle Beach, while St. James faces Wilson on the same night.

The two teams meet again Friday at St. James in a potential showdown for the region crown. The Braves defeated the Sharks 11-3 in the first meeting – the only loss for either team in region play this season.

Photo courtesy of Owens Designs

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