Gators lock in playoffs spot

  • Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rob Gantt/Gazette Goose Creek catcher Christian Sillanpa (right) loses his helmet after a collision at home with Cane Bay runner B.J. Thompson, who was tagged out on the play.

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The Goose Creek Gators have guaranteed themselves a shot at second place in Region 7-AAAA.

The Gators swept both region matchups against Cane Bay this week, winning 1-0 and 7-2 to improve to 4-2 in the region standings.

They can't catch West Ashley for first place but meet Wando in a three-game series (April 21, 23 and 25) that will determine the runner-up and at least one home playoff game.

The Gators' 7-2 win over CBHS on April 9 guaranteed a spot in the playoffs and was more of a complete effort.

“It was the first time (in region) that we decided to put some hitting and pitching together,” GCHS coach Chris Pond said.

The Gators (8-6) had 10 hits, three by Bryce Jonason and two by Chris Singleton, in the win. Zach Owens and Cody Smith drove in two runs apiece.

Goose Creek gave starting pitcher Tyler Rio all the help he needed in the second inning. The Gators scored five times to take control.

Rio (4-2, 3.13 ERA) tossed 5.2 innings, scattering four hits and working around five walks. He struck out four batters. Jonason got the final four outs, allowing one run on one hit.

The Gators added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Cane Bay's lone two runs came in the fourth and seventh innings.

Tanner Coleman took the loss for Cane Bay, scattering eight hits in five innings. He allowed four earned runs and walked three while striking out one.

Billy Detyens was the lone Cobras player with two hits. Jacob Page and Cody Maw had the RBIs for the Cobras.

Cane Bay meets Stratford (April 21, 23, 25) in its final regular season games.

In Goose Creek's Game 1 win, 1-0, over Cane Bay on April 8, Smith tossed a shutout and Rio's solo blast to center in the bottom of the fourth inning accounted for the lone run of the game.

Smith (2-2, 2.42 ERA) struck out five batters and scattered three hits against the Cobras. Gators catcher Christian Sillanpa was the only player for either team with two hits. Cane Bay had a runner cut down at the plate in the top of the sixth inning and then went in order in the seventh inning.

“We've been getting great pitching,” Pond said. “We haven't had enough hits. It's hard to win games with four or five hits unless the pitcher is lights out. They're not going to be perfect every day. We've got to have some hitting and make the routine plays in the field too.”

On the season, Singleton leads all Gators hitters with a .467 batting average, while Sillanpa is batting .381.

Since giving up five earned runs, and nine total, against Hanahan on March 12, Smith has allowed just one earned run over his last three starts, a span of 20 innings. He's fanned 35 batters during the stretch.

“He's a different Cody Smith than he was (against Hanahan),” Pond said. “I just told him some times pitchers are going to get hit.”

Third pitcher Bryce Jonason (0-0) has a 2.12 ERA and one save. Both Cane Bay and Hanahan will participate in the annual HIT tournament over spring break after a non-region game against each other on Friday.

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