Giving little notice to his team’s No. 1 ranking in Class AAAA, Carolina Forest baseball coach Jack Jolly pointed to this week’s S.C. Diamond Invitational in Blythewood for one simple reason.
“This tournament has a playoff atmosphere, in every game you’re going to be taking on a good team,” he said. “Overall, we’re just excited to be here, thinking a tournament like this will help our team in the long run.”
Facing a stiff challenge from a solid Lexington team on Thursday, the Panthers responded in the form of a 5-3 win to open tournament play.
A 2-run double by first baseman Jared Lembcke with two outs in the fifth allowed Carolina Forest to extend its lead to 4-0, a lead that would prove to be an insurmountable one for the Wildcats.
Never miss a local story.
“Moving the lead from 2-0- to 4-0 was huge for us,” Jolly said. “At that time, it was big for us to double the score and put a little pressure on (Lexington).”
Lembcke went 1-for-2 in the game for Carolina Forest with a pair of runs batted in. Center fielder Patrick Orlando and designated hitter Caleb Lindaberry also contributed by going 2-for-3.
Three of the Panthers’ five runs in the game came with two outs. Lexington also did its part to help, however, committing five errors in the game.
As for Carolina Forest, it played largely mistake-free baseball – perfect for a smooth operator the like of pitcher Jakob Frishmuth.
The Panthers’ hurler went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits. Particularly key for the right-hander in the game was his ability to throw first-pitch strikes, Jolly said.
“Throwing first-pitch strikes allowed him to jump ahead of batters instead of having to force himself to settle in,” the Caroline Forest coach said. “It helped him limit the number of base runners. He was in control and command in the game, it was a solid effort for him.
▪ W: Jakob Frishmuth L: Jon Scott S: Dylan Roberts Top hitters: CF: Jared Lembcke 1-for-2, 2 RBIs, R; Patrick Orlando 2-for-3, R; Caleb Lindaberry 2-for-3. LEX: Will Alewine 2-for-3, 2 R; Josh Abill 2-for-3; Cole Lemacks 1-for-3, R
▪ Records: CF 11-1, LEX 7-6.
MINGO BAY CLASSIC
▪ St. James 4, Spanish Fort (Ala.) 3 | An error by Spanish Fort third baseman Elliott Johnson with two out in the bottom of the seventh allowed St. James’ Jacob English to trot home with the winning run, keeping the Sharks perfect in Mingo Bay Classic play.
Down 3-1 heading into their half of the sixth, St. James was the beneficiary of timely hitting as well as a couple of Spanish Fort errors that allowed it to tie the game.
Designated hitter Grayson Stoneking was 2-for-2 in the win for St. James, also scoring a run.
▪ W: Tony Norcia L: Garland Horst Top hitters: SF: Hunter Stokes 2-for-4, RBI; Colt Steiner 1-for-3, HR, RBI. STJ: Grayson Stoneking 2-for-2, R; Anthony Peck 1-for-2, 2 RBI.
▪ Kaneland (Ill.) 4, Myrtle Beach 3| Despite having more hits than their foes from Illinois, Myrtle Beach wasn’t able to pulled ahead where it counts, falling to Kaneland in the final game of pool play.
The two teams neck-and-neck for much of the game, a run in the seventh inning allowed Kaneland to pull ahead.
Jay Morris and Michael Calamari each had two hits for Myrtle Beach in the game.
Mingo Bay Classic local results
Aynor 6, LaSalle (Pa.) 4
Conway 12, Martinsburg (W. Va.) 2
Cuthbertson 4, North Myrtle Beach 2
Chancellor (Va.) 9, Loris 5
Georgetown 17, North Bergen (N.J.) 2
Socastee 12, Logan (W. Va.) 0
St. James 4, Spanish Fort (Ala.) 3
Waccamaw 9, North Stafford (Va.) 4