For the Marlboro County baseball team, their first game in the postseason was disappointingly like quite a few games this season. The Bulldogs got solid pitching but could not get the key hits when they needed to in order to produce runs.
Lugoff-Elgin broke a scoreless tie with a run in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth. The Bulldogs pushed a run across in their final at-bat and had two runners on base but could not get the needed hit.
“That’s the way it’s been all year. We’ve stayed out of bad innings, maybe giving up a run here or there but just staying in the game. Sooner or later, we’ll have to come up with some hits,” said head coach Phillip Blue.
Lugoff-Elgin had several early scoring threats that the Bulldogs succeeded in stopping. The Demons got a runner to third in the first inning, one to second base in the second inning and loaded the bases in the third, but failed to score.
Marlboro’s first opportunity came in the top of the fourth. Jett Herndon reached on a throwing error. A sacrifice by Clint English and a single by Brix Cribb advanced Herndon to third. However, a double-play prevented the Bulldogs from taking the lead.
A single to lead off the bottom of the fifth turned into the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth inning, the Demons loaded the bases on two hit-by-pitches and an error. A second error allowed a run to score, then another run came on a bases-loaded walk.
Down to their final at-bat, the Bulldogs finally generated some offense. Cribb singled to center field, then Logan Quick doubled to put runners on second and third.
Senior Tony Graham drove in Cribb with a single to center field. However, a strikeout and out on the base paths ended the Bulldogs’ threat.
Cribb was 2 for 3 at the plate. Quick and Graham accounted for the Bulldogs’ only other hits.
Devin Hardee started for the Bulldogs, striking out three while allowing six hits.
“We took him out due to his pitch count and coming back around third or fourth time, we felt like we would give them a different look,” explained Blue.
Corey Gibson pitched the sixth inning, striking out two.
Marlboro County now faces elimination as they host Lower Richland on Thursday.
“This is a scrappy ball club. We have fought all year long, playing in tough tournaments and against tough teams. I think we are built for this,” said Blue.
“With us going toe-to-toe with them, it shows that we can play with anybody. After the first two innings, I think we got our feet wet and were fine,” said Blue.
Lower Richland fell to top seeded Colleton County Tuesday.
Regular season wrapup
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with an 8-7 victory over Cheraw last Thursday and a 10-0 blowout of Wilson on Friday.
Against Cheraw, the Bulldogs jumped to an early 4-0 lead, only to have the Braves come back and tie the contest. Marlboro regained a four-run advantage but Cheraw clawed back into the game with three runs in the sixth.
Peyton Herndon was 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs to lead the offense. Quick was 2 for 3 and Cribb was 2 for 4.
Clint English started, striking out one while giving up three hits. Gibson finished the game, striking out two while allowing six hits.
Friday, the teams entered the fifth inning in a scoreless tie. However, the Bulldogs pounded in three runs in the fifth and seven in the sixth inning.
Iyon Williams, Cribb and Jett Herndon were all 2 for 3 in the contest.
Senior Zach Norton got the win, striking out eight in five innings of work. Peyton Herndon closed the game, striking out two.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with an 11-14 overall record, 4-4 in region contests, good for third place behind Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach.
Ryan Bethea contributed to this story.