John Paul II baseball held off an incredible Hilton Head Christian Academy rally and escaped with a 15-14 home win over the Eagles in region play Thursday in Hardeeville.
The Golden Warriors held on despite issuing 22 walks and hitting a batter, while the Eagles walked 13 and hit three. But the slugfest turned into a pitching duel down the stretch.
After HHCA had cut a 15-6 lead down to one with a seven-run sixth inning, freshman Walker Mikkelson delivered a desperately needed shutdown inning to give the Eagles a chance. After walking the first batter and hitting the next, Mikkelson induced a pair of infield popups sandwiched around a strikeout to get out of the jam.
Then it was Tripp Currier’s turn. The JPII senior got himself into trouble when he walked Jace Blackshear to lead off the inning, and the three-sport star used his wheels to get to third with one out.
After a second straight strikeout, Currier walked Blaine McClure to put runners at the corners, and McClure swiped second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position.
After 39 free passes, Currier wasn’t about to offer another one. He pumped four straight strikes, one of which was fouled off, and induced a popup to preserve a one-run win.
JPII ace Hayden Jennings didn’t have his best stuff, walking nine and allowing four runs (three earned), but he struck out six and battled through 3 2-3 innings before giving way to the young bullpen.
Jennings also had a monster night at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs, while Nate McDonough was 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored three times, and Rance Jennings was 2-for-2 with an inside-the-park homer and four RBIs. Peter Hughes added two hits out of the leadoff spot and scored twice.
HHCA freshman Jesse Hall was 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, and three RBIs, and McClure reached base five times, going 1-for-2 with two runs and four walks. Kyle Scannell was 1-for-2 with three walks and two RBIs for the Eagles.
JPII (2-2) plays at Pinewood Prep on Friday.
HHCA (0-6) looks for its first win Friday at Memorial Day in Savannah.
By Justin Jarrett