The Faith Baptist Eagles defeated the South Pointe Stallions 8-2 to win the Wheels Baseball tournament at Northwestern High School Saturday afternoon.
The Ludawici, Ga.-based Eagles, made the most of six hits and took advantage of four Stallion errors to win the title for the second year in a row.
A five-run outburst in the bottom of the second inning was the difference in the game. The rally erased a 2-0 South Pointe lead.
The Stallions drew first blood with a pair of runs in the top of the first.
Bo Taylor led off with a single and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Daniel Lipe. Stephen Thompson’s grounder was misplayed in the infield, allowing Taylor to score. Spencer Bala’s sharp single to left drove in Thompson.
Faith Baptist added single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
Juan Paulino tripled and scored on a Irvin Cespedes’ single in the third. Chavez Young singled in the fourth, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an error. Delora singled in the fifth, moved to second on a walk, and scored on a pair of infield groundouts.
Faith Baptist was 4-0 in its pool play during the week, while South Pointe won its pool, at 3-1. South Pointe tied with Nation Ford at 3-1, but a 2-0 win over Nation Ford earlier in the week broke the tie, sending the Stallions to the title contest.
Faith Baptist placed Young, Paulino, and Pedro Castellano on the All-tournament team. South Pointe was represented on the select team by Taylor, Lipe, and Bala.
“Playing in this tournament will really help us,” said South Pointe head coach Joel Taylor. “We have played a tough non-region schedule, and we have done very well against it. Playing top caliber teams will help us down the road.”
South Pointe is now 13-6 overall, second place in Region 3-3A as the home stretch olf the regular season approaches.
“We have been playing well lately,” Taylor said. “We knocked off Lancaster, Rock Hill, and Northwestern. We are getting better. This team has always been scrappy, but with the way we have played in the last two weeks, we are gaining confidence. Baseball is all about confidence.”
Trailing 2-0, Faith Baptist scored five times in the bottom of the second on just two hits. A walk, an error, and singles by Jason Delora and Irvin Cespedes accounted for two runs.
After Dawin Santos was hit by a pitch, an error, a sacrifice by Rafael Marquez, and an infield groundout by Alfonzo Lopez made it 4-2. Chavez Young’s sacrifice fly to deep centerfield drove in the final run in the frame.
Faith Baptist made only one error in the field, and it led to a South Pointe run. After the first inning Faith Baptist played flawlessly in the field.
Delora and Cespedes each had two hits for Faith Baptist. Delora scored two runs and stole a pair of bases, and Cespedes drove in two and scored once.
Starting pitcher Chavez Fernandez pitched a complete game. After surviving a shaky first inning, he allowed only one hit the rest of the way. He finished the game with 13 strikeouts and only two walks.
South Pointe plays at Rock Hill on Monday night at 7:30, followed by Lewisville on Thursday night and Union County on Friday night. Both those games are at home.
WP - Chavez Fernandez. LP - Daniel Lipe. 3B - Juan Paulino. Leading hitters: South Pointe - Bo Taylor 1-3, Stephen Thompson 1-3, Spencer Bala 1-3, RBI; First Baptist - Jason Delora 2-2, Irwin Cespedes 2-2, 2 RBI.