WINNSBORO —The 2012-13 Griffins baseball team made history this season, hosting the school’s first home playoff games and winning the first playoff game in school history, but their season of firsts came to an end Tuesday night with a 5-2 loss at home against Central of Pageland. FCHS had an early 2-1 lead but then Pageland tied the game at 2 and took a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning.
Compton Walker pitched a complete game and kept the Griffins within striking distance until the seventh inning.
That inning was extended by several Griffin errors and a Walker wild pitch, helping the Central players extend the lead to 5-2. The Griffins were retired 1,2,3 in the bottom of the seventh inning. All Walker could do was stand in the on deck circle and watch the season end.
Coach Scotty Dean said he may have stayed with Walker a little too long late in the game, noticing his pitcher was tiring, but he wanted to keep his bat in the lineup for a chance at batting cleanup in the bottom half of the frame.
“Our kids kept their heads in (this game) and they have nothing to be ashamed of,” assistant coach Jay Christie said. “Our goals at the beginning of the season included competing the the playoffs, having a winning junior varsity season (the team finished 11-7) and to be playing baseball in May.” The program came within a day of reaching all three goals in what coaches see as a breakthrough season for Griffin baseball.
Coach Dean mentioned how many of his players improved throughout the season.
“When you see us get off of the bus, you don’t marvel at our athletes,” he said. “We may not have the most talented baseball players in the world but our kids play hard. They kept this game tight the whole time and in the past this is a game we would have lost 12-2.”
He appreciated Superintendent J.R. Green coming out to the game to cheer on the Griffins.
Dean said he looks forward to his players getting a year older and a year stronger. “What more can you say about these guys? Monk (Stanley McManus) had a cast on his hand Thursday, had it taken off and got the save in the first game with Pageland,” Dean said.
“The next night he held a state championship caliber Andrew Jackson team to four runs through seven innings. And I’d put Compton Walker out there on the mound against anyone.”
He also pointed to Brandon Adams, Chris Boyd, Jessie Broom and Jarvis Cook as stud players to keep an eye out for next season. With just one senior leaving this year’s team, a solid nucleus returns and they are setting goals of a deeper playoff run next year. The coaches said Hill set a standard by which the players following him will be judged and they appreaciated his leadership and intangibles.
“I worked hard in the off season to be a leader this year,” said senior Tyrell Hill. “And this year I am happy that what I did could help out the team.”