The Brookland-Cayce Bearcats scored in all but two innings to take care of the Battery Creek Dolphins 8-1 Tuesday, May 2 in the first round of the 3A baseball playoffs.
“We had some better approaches once we got to the third and fourth innings,” Brookland-Cayce head coach Rusty Charpia said. “I’ll give them some credit; they did their homework. They knew we’ve faced some pretty good pitching. They threw a young guy who wasn’t throwing very hard. He kept us off balance and got some pop ups and weak ground balls. Even though we won 8-1, we just didn’t look as good as normal. But this time a year a win is a win. We’ll take it.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Brookland- Cayce bats got going in the bottom of the second. Ty Marshall reached on an error and Jackson Thomas was hit by a pitch to put two on with two out. Ethan Smith also reached on an error, scoring courtesy runner Rylan Bullis to put the Bearcats ahead 1-0. Tanner Staton followed by smashing a run double, scoring Thomas and Smith and to increase Brookland-Cayce’s lead to 3-0.
The Bearcats added a run in the bottom of the fourth. Smith hit a one out single and Staton was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, BJ Etheridge sliced a single, scoring Smith as Brookland-Cayce led 4-0.
The Bearcats blew it open in the bottom of the fifth. Hayden Thomas was hit by a pitch and Jordan Gibbs reached on an error. A wild throw attempt to get Gibbs at first allowed Thomas to score as the Brookland-Cayce lead grew to 5-0. Marshall then blasted a double, scoring Gibbs to push the lead to 6-0. Two batters later, Smith hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Bullis as the Bearcats led 7-0.
Brookland-Cayce added one final run in the bottom of the sixth. Robert McMillan hit a two-out single, Hayden Thomas reached on an error, and Gibbs walked to load the bases. Marshall drew a walk, scoring courtesy runner Isaih Oree to provide the eighth run.
While the Bearcats bats were coming alive at the plate, Etheridge was dealing on the mound. The left hander threw six complete innings giving up no runs or hits while striking out nine batters. He also went 1-for-4 at the plate with an RBI.
“He’s just a phenomenon. He’s getting better and better,” Charpia said. “A lot of schools are calling about him. I think he’s big time. He has command of the strike zone. He can throw three pitches. He’s been throwing in the upper 80s. He’s a straight-A student. He’s a star basketball player. He just knows how to do it all. He’s special. He’s done it all year. He just shows up to play every time you give him the ball.”
Battery Creek was able to scratch a run across in the top of the seventh to set the final score.
Staton and Marshall led Brookland-Cayce at the plate, going 1-for-3 each with two RBI. Smith went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Brookland-Cayce improves to 18-6 and advances in the winners’ bracket of District 5.
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