By: Karen Willdermood
After winning their first two pool play games of the USC Wood Bat Tournament, the Carolina Combat 16U team fell to the Upstate Mavericks 17u 9-4 Saturday afternoon.
The Combat started strong, putting three runs on the board in the bottom of the first. Rashad Byrd (North Augusta) led off the order with a single to left and later scored off Kitt Capell’s (Ben Lippen) groundout to second. Chris Brown (Blythewood High School) singled up the middle and brought in Neko Williams (North Augusta) for a second run. With two outs, T.J. White beat out a grounder to bring in Jackson Derrick (Hammond), running for starting pitcher Chris Brown.
A double, an error and a flyball lost in the sun allowed the Upstate Mavs to score a run in the second. A single followed by triple in the third cut the Combat’s lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Combat's lead-off hitter, Rashad Byrd, drew a walk, stole second, advanced to third on Seth Owen’s (North Augusta) sac bunt then scored off Kitt Capell’s line drive single.
With bases loaded in the sixth, the Mavs walked in another run to begin the game ending rally. A hard hit triple scored three more runs increasing the Mav’s lead 8-4. Another run crossed the plate before relief pitcher Seth Owens recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
The Combat recovered quickly from their tough loss and went on to beat the Palmetto Falcons 7-2 in their second game Saturday evening. The Combat’s 3-1 record helped them win their pool and got them a spot in the playoffs late Saturday night, but three games in one day proved too much for the young team. The Combat 16u fell to the host and defending Perfect Game National Champions Evoshield Canes 17u at AC Flora to end their tournament play.