Northwestern first baseman Jeremy Hyatt drove in the first of six runs in his team's 6-0 win over Fort Mill, but he came away with a fat lip from an earlier play that had him carefully placing a cold bottle of water against it.
In the top of the second inning, Fort Mill's Rob Aranyosi popped a pitch foul. Hyatt faded back, knowing he had plenty of room to make the play. When he put his hand against the fence to brace himself, the fence gave. Someone apparently forgot to drop the pin which held it secure, and the swinging gate left Hyatt grasping for air.
He landed hard on his face, cutting the right side of his lower lip on a stray piece of bleacher that was on the ground next to the fence. He stayed down for a few moments, but stayed in the game.
"Hurting," Hyatt replied when asked how he felt after the game, though he didn't need stitches after the fall.
He didn't wait long to pay it back. Hyatt smashed a two-out double to right field in the bottom of the second, scoring Sammy Taormina to give the Trojans the lead they would not surrender.
PRIDE, FAMILY: Senior outfielder Zach Longo has spent the majority of his life playing baseball with his Carrick Raiders teammates, most of which are lifelong friends.
But on Aug. 29, Longo's life will take on a whole new meaning when he ships off to parts unknown to begin U.S. Marine Corps boot camp. Longo enlisted for the lifelong benefits provided by the Marines, and to uphold a family legacy in the armed forces.
"My dad's side of the family was in the Marines, and it's something that I really take to heart," Longo said. "It's a big decision of course, but I'm hoping that it gives me the chance to go to college and play the sport that I love when I return."
Longo plans to spend one to two terms as a member of the Marines, which usually spans from four to six years of service.
IN THE BOOK: Mauldin coach Jim Maciejewski made what he believed was a good decision in this team's second game at South Pointe, a 17-3 loss to the host Stallions.
His Mavericks have on region game left against Byrnes that has been rescheduled several times because of rain. Maciejewski decided to shelve his ace, sophomore Cory Thompson so he can pitch Saturday against the Rebels.
"It's our last chance to make it up and we have to get it in,'' Maciejewski said. "If Byrnes wins, they win the region. The only way we can make the playoffs is for us to win.''
The roof fell in on the Mavericks quickly Thursday as South Pointe jumped a 6-0 first-inning lead.
Mavericks' pitchers plunked six Stallions batters, walked six and the defense made five errors. Three pitchers climbed on the mound without success.
"We did not do any of the baseball things it takes to compete,'' Maciejewski said. "But losing two straight here is not our worry. Making the playoffs is.''
After we play our game (today), we're going home to get ready for Byrnes. We won't be here for the consolations and I feel bad about it. But none of us knew we'd keep getting rained out.''
HEADED HOME: The first run of the tournament in the Rock Hill High bracket didn't come off a hit, but came off the swift baserunning from Rocky River High's Devryn Galloway.
Galloway stole home during the first inning of the opening game against Nation Ford. He reached on a walk to open the game. Galloway also got the first hit of the game for Rocky River in the third inning and scored the second run of the game for his team.
UNIVERSAL GAME: Ethan Walker hit a language barrier when he first suited up for Jacksonville's powerhouse Arlington Country Day Apache squad.
Fifteen of his 18 teammates are Hispanic, and the freshman pitcher spoke hardly any Spanish. But in his short tenure with the Apaches, Walker has become bilingual, and he credits his teammates for helping him learn a skill that will translate to every aspect of his life going forward.
"When you're around an entire team that speaks Spanish, learning the language becomes second nature," Walker said. "Plus, the sport of baseball itself is a universal language, so the transition was easy for me."
Starting against the Rockbridge County High School Lions on Thursday, Walker registered eight strikeouts and one hit in five innings of work en route to a 12-0 victory.
ADJUSTED GAME TIMES: In case you're heading to the tournament today, understand published start times are a guideline, and tournament organizers are starting games 30 minutes after the completion of the previous game.
At Northwestern, the 1 p.m. Fort Mill-Bayside game finished quickly, which allowed the Fort Mill-Northwestern game to start about 40 minutes ahead of the announced 4 p.m. start time. When that one took less than 90 minutes, it pushed the nightcap up to around 5:30 p.m.
NIGHT OWLS: If Bayside's looking for an excuse for its slow start to Thursday's early game (a 10-3 loss to Fort Mill), the Virginia team can't blame travel.
Bayside rolled into town Wednesday afternoon after the five-and-a-half hour drive from the Virginia Beach area, got a good night's sleep and took a quick tour of Winthrop's facility Thursday morning. Bayside players were able to get some batting practice but couldn't take infield because of morning rain.
But Bayside started slowly, giving up eight runs in the first two innings to allow the Yellow Jackets to cruise in the opening game.
"We had a pretty big layover, so it wasn't the travel or anything," Bayside coach Jason Hatcher said. "Plus, these guys play so much travel ball in the summers that they're used to that kind of thing. We just didn't play good baseball early, too many errors, too many walks, and they're too good to do that against."