Robbie Centracchio will be the first to admit Lady Luck has shone brightly on his St. James baseball club through the years, in the process allowing it to become one of the Grand Strand’s more consistent programs — regardless of sport.
Much of this season, however, the opinion of the Sharks’ skipper was that she had turned her back on the club, placing one roadblock after another in its path toward success.
“It just seemed to be one thing after another,” the St. James baseball coach said. “We had injuries, we also had so many games this season where we lost by one or two runs. Imagine what our record could be had those been in our favor.”
With a 9-0 win over Wilson last week, St. James claimed the final playoff spot awarded to Region VII-4A. Though far from where the squad expected to be at the start of the 2017 baseball campaign, Centracchio couldn’t be happier.
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“You get in, that’s all you can ask for,” he said. “I really think we’re finally playing our best baseball. Honestly, I don’t know if many teams will want to play us.”
Ready or not, it’s playoff time.
It’s been a fun ride, but we’re not ready for it to stop. We have two seniors on this team and our goal is to finish this thing out the right way for them.
Myrtle Beach baseball coach Tim Christy
The district playoffs get underway Tuesday evening, with 10 games involving teams from the Myrtle Beach area and Grand Strand at large. Of area clubs qualifying for the postseason, three will open at home.
Winners of Region VII-4A, Myrtle Beach will open the District VII-4A playoffs with a visit from Lakewood. “It’s been a fun ride, but we’re not ready for it to stop. We have two seniors on this team and our goal is to finish this thing out the right way for them,” said Myrtle Beach baseball coach Tim Christy.
North Myrtle Beach also will enjoy the comforts of home to begin the playoffs, with Darlington making a trip from the Pee Dee to Little River. The final qualifier out of Region VII-4A, St. James will travel to Region VI-4A champion Hartsville in both teams’ district playoff opener.
After getting the better of a three-team tie for the Region VI-3A title, Waccamaw will start its postseason journey at home against Timberland. Co-region champion Aynor will begin its trek toward a second straight state title on the road, traveling to Hanahan.
Loris also was the beneficiary of tiebreaker procedures in Region VI-3A, the Lions granted the No. 4 spot in the league. They will visit Region VII-3A champion Bishop England to open the postseason.
In Class 5A, region rivals Carolina Forest and Conway both received playoff bids.
While the Panthers did so by grabbing the final playoff spot in Region VI-5A, Conway earned the nod via a committee vote of Class 5A athletic directors. Both will be headed to the Charleston-area on Tuesday night, Carolina Forest visiting West Ashley while the Tigers travel to Region VII-5A co-champion Wando.
“You’re in, so now we’re in it to win it,” Worley said to his team after earning Region VI-5A’s final playoff spot with a 7-1 win over rival Conway. “I like our chances with our pitching. I like how we’re starting to hit the baseball.
“And with four guys you can count on on the mound, when you have four colts you can depend on, it makes a lot of difference.”
Carvers Bay qualified fifth in Region VII-2A. The Bears will visit Academic Magnet to begin the Class 2A district playoffs.
Green Sea Floyds also will play in the postseason, starting with Bethune-Bowman.
Grand Strand area baseball playoff matchups
Tuesday, April 25
Times to be announced
Carolina Forest at West Ashley
Conway at Wando
Lakewood at Myrtle Beach
Darlington at North Myrtle Beach
St. James at Hartsville
Timberland at Waccamaw
Aynor at Hanahan
Loris at Bishop England
Carvers Bay at Academic Magnet
Green Sea Floyds at Bethune-Bowman