Cougars eliminated from AAAA playoffs
by The Press and Standard | May 1, 2019 5:00 pm
Last Updated: May 1, 2019 at 10:59 am
By CINDY CROSBY
The Colleton County Cougar Baseball team was eliminated from the SCHSL AAAA District VI playoffs following a 10-3 loss against North Myrtle Beach High School on the road Saturday April 27. After garnering an at-large bid for the playoffs, the Cougars dropped the opening game 5-3 against North Myrtle Beach Tuesday April 23, then bounced back with a win against Aiken (8-3) Thursday evening.
In game one against North Myrtle Beach, Chase Hadwin took the loss for Colleton County, working five innings, allowing five hits and five runs. Hadwin struck out one and issued three walks.
Jackson Morelli closed the game, holding North Myrtle Beach to no runs and striking out two. Trey Nettles went 2-4 at the plate with an RBI and scored twice. Henry Gibson was 1-2 with an RBI and Lane Lee was 1-2 with an RBI. Ryan Nettles recorded a hit for the Cougars. Colleton County recorded four errors in the game.
“Our guys came in swinging the bat well,” said Coach Jermale Paige. “Trey Nettles got things going early when he doubled down right field line. Henry Gibson followed him with a double to left field, scoring Nettles. We scored two runs in the third inning with an RBI double by Nettles scoring Jackson Morelli, and an RBI single by Lane Lee scoring Nettles. We couldn’t handle the ball defensively — that’s been our demise in the end. North Myrtle Beach is a good team, but I know they’re not better than us. If we play defense, we win the ball game.”
Against Aiken in game two, Lane Lee earned the win on the hill for the Cougars in five-and-one-third innings of work. Lee allowed one earned run on three hits, striking out two and issuing a walk.
Morelli threw one-and-two-thirds innings of scoreless relief. Gibson was 2-3 at the plate with an RBI and Nettles was 1-3 with 2-RBI’s. Lee was 1-3 with three RBI’s, including a 2-RBI double in the first inning.
“I felt we bounced back well on Thursday defeating Aiken,” said Paige. “Once again, the guys came out swinging, scoring three runs in the top of the first, with doubles coming from Gibson and Lee. Our defense was much better, we made the routine plays and got out of some tough situations. Lee got the win on the mound. Morelli came in a tough spot with bases loaded and got two crucial outs in the bottom of the sixth, picking up a big save.”
With both teams facing elimination, Colleton County and North Myrtle Beach re-matched for game three. The Chiefs had seven hits to the Cougars’ three, with both teams recording multiple errors on defense. Warren Hunter pitched four innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits, striking out one and issuing five walks. Morelli pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out two. Ben Kennedy, Wesley Bryan and Jackson Bell recorded hits in the game.
“The guys mustered up whatever energy they had left to take another trip back to North Myrtle Beach,” said Paige. “The Chiefs executed well offensively. We could’ve taken care of the ball better, but they just capitalized off our mistakes. It was a long week for these guys, traveling over 16 hours to play baseball is a lot for these young men. I’m proud of their efforts and the mentality to withstand these circumstances; unfortunately, we came up short.”
The Cougars finished the season 12-11 overall and 3-6 in Region VII-AAAA.