Another outstanding night for baseball in the midlands as we head out to Ben Lippen on the campus of Columbia International University. There was a slight breeze blowing out to left-center for this SCISA AAA matchup. These teams are tangling for playoff positions in this region matchup and the visiting Heathwood Hall Highlanders would send College of Charleston commit Will Detwiler to the mound to face off against Drew Early of the hosting Falcons.
The game kicked off in the top of the 1st with a web gem by Ben Lippen second baseman Joey Barrett who made an outstanding catch on a ball over his head that looked like a bloop headed in to right field. After a hit, and an RBI by Highlander pitcher Detwiler, and a passed ball, Heathwood took a 2-0 lead early on. The Falcons would get things going when leadoff Robert Satcher hit a sharp single off of Detwiler. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk with two outs Wil Carter would approach and hit a single to center field scoring a run but center fielder Duffy Beal cut down what would have been the second run at the plate to end the 1st inning with HH up 2-1.
The 2nd inning featured number nine hitter for HH Julian Hennig hitting a single with two outs but no runs would come across. The bottom half for the Falcons featured a couple strikeouts and a base running mistake by BL, leaving the score at 2-1 HH after the second.
Drew Early looked to have settled in the 3rd inning as he got the two-three-four hitter of Heathwood to go down in order. Detwiler looked up to the challenge as he returned the favor to the Falcons two-three-four hitters.
The top of the 4th got busy for the visiting Highlanders as Davis Bland roped a single, Early was able to get a fly out, but after a bloop single the Highlander threat was apparent. Brandon Walden would come through with a RBI single. After a two RBI double, and then an infield single by Beal, Early was able to get out of the threat by striking out Detwiler. The Falcons would strike back when catcher Kitt Capell led off the bottom of the inning with a single. After a ground out, Wil Carter would single up the middle. Joseph Wise would come through with an RBI single to left field. Then there would be an error by HH, a ground out, and a strike out to end the inning.
BL pitcher Drew Early seemed to begin to tire as he walked the first two batters in the top of the 5th. An error would then load the bases for Heathwood Hall with nobody out. A wild pitch would plate a run before #11 Julian Hennig would hit a base hit to right field that was misplayed by the Falcon fielder. After a strikeout Ben Lippen was able to get out of the jam when a line drive touched the base runner at third base who was in foul territory (and the ball was ruled foul by the home plate umpire, which stands to say the out should not have been called, what's worse is the umpires came together and upheld the foul ball and "out" call). In the bottom half pitcher Drew Early was able to find his way on base due to catcher's interference. Kitt Capell would double to deep center field to score the run and make it 8-4 Heathwood's advantage.
In the top of the 6th Detwiler would double in an 0-2 count but not much else doing. An error would keep Detwiler from the one-two-three inning in the bottom half.
In the top of the 7th the Falcons would flash some leather and turn a nice double play, but just could not get the bats going as Julian Hennig came on to shut the door.
Heathwood Hall 8
Ben Lippen 4
Will Detwiler - Senior LHP (CofC) - The lefty was not overpowering tonight but was effective. Fastball velocity varied a bit, early on topped out at 80mph on the stalker radar, worked a good bit in the upper 70's throughout the night. In the middle innings he pumped it up a little and hit 82mph. Curveball was effective and has good depth. I expected him to dominate tonight, but Ben Lippen can be a scrappy team and battle you when you least expect them to. I can see him making a big jump when he gets on campus at CofC with a dedicated program. Getting his velocity up and developing a quality third pitch might determine whether he plays or redshirts his freshman year.
Kitt Capell - Sophomore Catcher - Had a couple of nice hits batting in the cleanup spot for the Falcons, including one ball hit deep to center that almost looked like it was headed out of the ballpark. Has a good build for a catcher and got his best pop time at 2.15. With hard work and seeing some more live arms in the summer he could jump up on a lot of college coaches lists. Would really benefit from attending a quality showcase or playing on a competitive travel team. What happens between this season and next season as far as his development and growth will play a big part in determining if he pans out as a college level backstop.
Depending on the playoff scenario which I'm not real sure of in this SCISA region right now, if either of these teams gets the right draw they can make a push in the playoffs. The talent is there to do it on both squads. If they are playing their best baseball come playoff time look out. Wilson Hall will be the team to beat in SCISA.
On a less positive note, I have just about come to the conclusion that I will not get a roster at a SCISA game. I will have to track down someone and get a copy of the lineup. This sends all the wrong messages about a program, that if a college coach or scout, or if a newspaper actually comes out to your game, to cover or recognize the players, they will be given the run-around. Many college coaches do not frequent high school games due to time constraints (they are in season too), but sometimes they do. I have seen Chad Holbrook at a high school game, and they almost always have someone they trust on speed dial to get info on players. So if I've got my eye on "Johnny" the junior shortstop and he has the game of his life, I might not know his last name or someone tells me he's a senior instead of a junior and I don't have any room for seniors, then Johnny is the one who loses. Those opportunities do not come around every day for the player. I am not speaking to one school in particular, it is every SCISA team I have watched so far this year, and a couple public schools as well. In the summer, our coaches are not caught dead without a folder full of rosters, if they don't have it, they get fined. I made the mistake years ago one summer of misplacing my folder, and then of course University of Virginia's pitching coach asked me for one, and it's the worst feeling to have to turn him away. I want a SCISA school to prove me wrong! Maybe Wilson Hall or Hammond? (hint-hint).