Baseball: Braves stay alive; Panthers reach district final

socbase-3The Socastee High baseball team’s bats fell surprisingly silent in Thursday’s playoff opening loss to South Aiken, but the Braves broke them out in a big way in Saturday’s 12-2 mercy-rule victory over visiting West Ashley in an elimination game.

The Braves were limited to five hits on Thursday’s 2-1 defeat but topped those offensive numbers in the first two innings Saturday. Socastee scored three runs in the first inning ans one in the second to claim and early 4-2 lead.

The Braves tallied 14 hits and scored in every inning except the fifth, including a five-run third to break the game wide open. They added two more runs in the fourth and scored one in the sixth to halt the game.

Socastee’s Dylan Thompson had a solid all-around day, pitching five solid innings and striking out five while also driving in two runs at the plate. Buck Bacot went 3-for-4 and Ryan Beale went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

The Braves advance to face the loser of the South Aiken-Ashley Ridge showdown on Monday.

* Carolina Forest 5, James Island 0: The Panthers got another complete-gAme playoff pitching performance, this time from Andrew Brong, to advance to the Class 4A District 7 championship bracket.

Brong threw a two-hitter and struck out six, giving Carolina Forest its second straight strong starting performance. Patrick Orlando took a 2-1 decision over Lexington in Thursday’s opener.

Now the Panthers are in good position to advance to the Lower State final series. They need one win in their next two games to move on and await Monday’s elimination winner at home Wednesday.

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