Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Head coach Wesley Brown has his team firing on all cylinders at the right time.
His Predators finished their regular season with a 20-2 record, and a perfect 10-0 run through Region 4-A. The team closed the year with a region championship clinching rout of Ridge Spring-Monetta, 18-0, in five innings. That now makes four in a row for the school.
The team went on to beat Aiken, 7-2, and Pelion, 10-4 to wrap up its year.
“This team seems to perform when they are supposed to,” Brown said. “They've killed AAAA pitching in the last few games they played in and that's something we didn't do midway. That's something we have to continue doing. The pitching we are going to see down the road is better than anything we have seen all year – A, AA, AAA, AAAA – I haven't seen a pitcher better than the one St. Joe's will have down the way. Hopefully that is something we will get the opportunity to do – play those guys.”
Closing out the year there are few players hotter than Fox Creek's Darshon Broadwater. The Spartanburg Methodist commit have four RBIs against Aiken to go with three hits. Brown said that the sky is the limit for Broadwater.
“If he ever can keep that mentality that he has right now, that kid will be playing professional baseball some day,” he said. “He's the best outfielder in this area, hands down. There's nobody that can come close to him. If he can keep it up, he'll lead this team, and the guys will get on with him and Roby (Gillespie)'s back and they will carry them on.”
Broadwater said that the team's approach going into the playoffs is simple: to keep hitting the ball hard.
“If we don't hit the ball we can't win,” he said. “We've got great pitching, but we have got to score. That's the ultimate goal: to hit the ball.”
The senior leader said that the team's approach won't change in the playoffs. He said that he is looking for his teammates to keep up the same intensity that they brought to the regular season's final week.
“I want to win it,” he said of a state championship. “Not just for me, but for the team. This is the year to do it.”
Fox Creek won eight of its 10 region games by double-digit runs. Brown said that scheduling teams like Aiken and Pelion at the end of the year, AAAA and AA squads, was by design.
“I have to pat myself on the back a bit,” Brown said. “I set the schedule up in a good way to finish with those two teams. That kind of gets us ready for the playoffs from a pitching standpoint and from an aggression standpoint. They play at a higher level, and that's more of what we are going to see when you get to the nitty-gritty of the teams in A baseball. One thing we are doing now that we weren't doing in the beginning of the year is that we're getting a lot of two-out hits. That's something we didn't do earlier in the year.”
Fox Creek's first round playoff game will be against Great Falls. Game time is scheduled for today at 7 p.m. at Riverview Park.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.