Though they were disappointed in a 3-1 regular-season-ending loss to rival Clover, the York Comprehensive High School baseball team is primed for Thursday’s opening-round 4A playoff game.
The Cougars travel to J. L. Mann for a 7 p.m. game.
“The loss to Clover hurts because it’s our rival,” said first-year Cougar head coach Eddie Tisdale. “It makes it a little better knowing that we get to practice Sunday and Monday, then travel Thursday to play a great J. L. Mann team.”
“Making the playoffs is a testament to our kids and coaches,” he said. “We set a goal in August, when we first started our summer workouts, that we wanted to make the playoffs. The kids worked in the off season. They did the things they needed to do.
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“I’m proud of them for that.”
The Cougars pushed across a run in the first inning, which held until Clover tied the game in the seventh and forced extra innings.
Aaron Harper led off the bottom of the first with an infield hit and reached second on a throwing error by the third baseman. Patch Edwards bunted him to third and Adam Hoffman's line drive to left made it 1-0 York.
The visiting Blue Eagles tied the game in the seventh, aided by a two-base error and a wild pitch.
Clover scored two runs in the top of the eighth on bases loaded walks.
The Cougars loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth. Cobb led off with an infield hit. After a groundout and strikeout, Hoffman walked and Harrison Childers singled to load the bases.
Clover pitcher Garrett Courtwright got Will Prince to ground back to the mound for the final out.
The large, enthusiastic crowd got the attention of Tisdale, who said he is beginning to understand the depth of the York-Clover rivalry.
“Oh man, this is a baseball atmosphere here,” said Tisdale after the game. “It was a big crowd. They were lively and they were into the ball game.”
Tisdale said he is finding it easy to get caught up in the rivalry.
“Anytime you get Clover and York together, everybody wants some of the action,” said Tisdale. “It’s great for our kids. It’s not a typical high school atmosphere.
“It’s above and beyond what normal high school ball games are like. They had a good support system as well.”
Tisdale praised Moorefiel’s performance on the mound.
“He’s and amazing kid, a high-character kid,” Tisdale said. “He does well in the classroom. He does everything you ask him to do.
“To come out here and pitch in this atmosphere and execute like he did for seven innings was a job well done. It came down to one pitch.”
Tisdale also had praise for Clover’s first-year head coach, Hank Wofford.
“I got to give Hank a lot of credit,” he said. “York and Clover were picked sixth and seventh at the beginning of the year.