In what turned out to be Waccamaw’s final meaningful game – at least in terms of region standings – coach Jeff Gregory had reason after reason to cite the old baseball adage.
Put the bat on the ball, and good things will happen.
The Warriors beat Loris 10-1 on Tuesday, taking advantage of Lions miscues from start to finish to lock up a first-round home playoff game more than a week before the start of the Class AA postseason.
“You’ve got to put it on the ground and make people make the plays,” Gregory said. “That’s why you tell them to run everything out and you never know what will happen.”
Waccamaw got onto Loris ace Tanner Kennedy early, although he wasn’t entirely to blame. A fielding error helped lead to a baserunner, and a wild pitch and a groundout equated to two early runs.
Then in the fifth, the Warriors added two runs without recording a hit. An error, two walks and a balk pushed Waccamaw to a 4-0 lead, and after Loris scored its first and only run in the top of the six, the Warriors dumped in six more in the bottom half of the inning.
Those all came after Kennedy retired the first two batters of the inning. Yet, two more errors and a simple pop-up to center that was lost in the lights when the bases were loaded blew the game wide open.
“I don’t think the score was indicative of the game, necessarily,” Loris coach Tim Graham said. “We missed that pop up with the bases loaded and then we threw a bunt away. I thought we played pretty well defensively, but the mistakes we made really killed us.”
Waccamaw pitcher and Presbyterian signee Carter Fox, meanwhile, got the type of help expected of a loaded team with a top-state ranking. He went the distance, striking out five and facing five over the minimum.
The complete effort from Waccamaw helped lock in the top four finishes in Region VIII-AA with a game to go in the division schedule. Aynor won the region, Waccamaw finished second, Loris third and Dillon fourth.
Still, Fox said Friday’s game at Aynor still means something for a team hopeful of a second straight district championship and appearance in the Lower State tournament.
“You have to have the mindset that you can beat any team. And we are good enough that we can beat any team,” Fox said. “It does matter. It’s a statement, especially if we beat them by a lot. That’s a great momentum starter. Once a team gets started, it’s to stop them.”
▪ W - Carter Fox. L - Tanner Kennedy. Top hitters - LOR: Dez Dozier 2-3, SB, Run; Dalton Stalvey 1-3. WAC: Luke Montenary 0-3, BB, Runs; Connor Eckard 1-4, RBI, Run; Jarrett Montenary 2-2, Run; McKinley Grooms 1-1, 2 BB, 2 Runs.
▪ Records: Loris 10-13, 5-4 Region VIII-AA; Waccamaw 16-7, 7-2..