Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The Fox Creek baseball team cruised to a District IV title last week, but are now facing adversity as they advance deeper into the playoffs.
The team ran into a powerhouse in St. Joseph’s and dropped the winners bracket playoff game 4-0.
The Predators (24-3) couldn’t solve the Knight’s starting pitcher, Ryan Stamler, who held the team to only two infield singles.
“Honestly, we’re equal to that team,” Wesley Brown, Fox Creek’s head coach, said. “The difference in that game is their pitcher; he’s a Citadel signee and he did a really good job mixing his pitches up. He throws a lot of strikes with all pitches, that’s the difference right there between St. Joe’s and the rest of (Class) A. That pitcher did a good job of putting us in the dugout.”
The first inning proved costly for the Predators, as they were unable to score and St. Joseph’s sprinted to a 3-0 lead. Two singles, a walk and a throwing error allowed the Knights to score, and Stamler stifled any rally Fox Creek created in the remaining innings.
“I’m going to put a lot of credit on him and some of it is on us,” Brown said. “We didn’t have a really good approach at the plate. When you get to that higher level of baseball, you really have to adjust to that pitcher and what he’s doing to you throughout the game. We’re going to have to do a better job of that, if we want to face them again.”
St. Joseph’s only managed five hits, but capitalized on passed balls and mental blunders by Fox Creek to take the contest.
“Like their coach said, we gave them their best game in (Class) A that they’ve had all year,” Brown said. “We’re pretty close to them, it’s just one small thing that separates you.”
A rain delay couldn’t damper the Fox Creek baseball team’s bats on Saturday, as they knocked off Lewisville 8-5 to get to the St. Joseph’s game.
The Predators came out of the gate slowly, falling behind 4-0 , before coming alive in the third and fourth innings. A rain delay of more than two hours didn’t stop Fox Creek either, as they were able to close the last 1? innings after the break.
“They started out kind of sluggish today,” Brown said. “We came into a hostile environment, these guys do a good job of trying to intimidate you with music and the noise. It kind of shell-shocked us, at first, but we’re battle tested.”
Fox Creek faced two very good pitchers in starter Obbie Sarduy and Evan Sisk, who pitched in relief.
“We’ve played these big schools all year, and (today) we faced two AAAA-level pitchers at the A-level,” Brown said. “Those guys are good and we fought through it, getting huge hits when we had to.”
Leading the Predators were the first and second batters in the order: Darshon Broadwater and Brandyn Quiller. Both scored three runs and had big extra-base hits.
“If there weren’t huge wind gusts, that ball Quiller hit would have been gone,” Brown said of a fourth-inning double by Quiller. “Those are the moments we look for; Quiller is a gamer. You’ve seen it on the basketball court and out here on the field. There is nobody better to have in those pressure situations than Brandyn Quiller. Darshon hit that triple – that was huge – and we took off from there.”
Broadwater, who took over as the leadoff hitter mid-season, found a way to work three walks and hit a triple against the Lions of Lewisville.
“I was thinking run, just run,” Broadwater said of the triple. “I saw the ball go to the fence and thought I had a chance for an inside-the-park home run. I’ve never hit one in my life. I’m always trying to get on base, that’s my mindset as the leadoff hitter. I have to start us off and set the tone for the team.”
Fox Creek will host Lewisville in a game that was to have happened on Wednesday. The game was to have started at 7 p.m. at Riverview Park.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.