2017-04-19 / Sports

Bears finish region play with a 9-1 record

By David Stembridge

Junior JT Philpot steals a base against Hephzibah last Friday. Junior JT Philpot steals a base against Hephzibah last Friday. The Burke County High School Bears (15-4, 9-1) had two final region wins last week at home. They defeated Thomson on Tuesday 9-3 and on Friday they defeated Hephzibah 13-3.

Head coach Billy Marchman said they pitched the ball against Thomson very well throughout the game and played solid defensively, but in the third inning they made a costly error that allowed two unearned runs. The Bears secured the victory thanks to five runs in the fifth inning.

“After the game I commended the team as a whole for taking what they gave us and executing in every phase of the game. The guys played very well and were fundamentally sound every pitch,” Marchman said.

On the mound for the first five innings was junior Bill Knight who had 8 hits, a walk, 8 strikeouts and 3 runs (only 1 earned run). Freshman Preston Price pitched the last two innings and had no hits, a walk and a strikeout.

Leading against Thomson were sophomore Colby Baker who hit 2-4 with a single, a double, a run and a stolen base; Knight, 1-3 with a single, an RBI, 2 runs and a stolen base; senior Dalton Kessinger, 1-3 with a single, an RBI and a run; junior Houston Copeland, 1-2 with a single, a sac fly, an RBI and an ROE; and junior George McKenzie, 1-3 with a single, 2 RBIs and a run.

Marchman said that on Friday the game against Hephzibah was tied at three with the Bears batting in the bottom of the third when Kessinger hit a single, driving in one run and taking the lead for good with six runs in the third inning.

“Offensively we had fourteen hits with four of them resulting in extra bases,” Marchman said. “We were active on the base paths with sixteen stolen bases to get runners on scoring position. Ten of our hits came with runners in scoring position and six of those hits came with two outs resulting in clutch RBI opportunities.”

On the bump for the first two innings was Copeland, who had 3 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts and 3 unearned runs. Senior Benji Brown stepped in for the final three innings, earning the win for the Bears by allowing no hits and no walks and earning 6 strikeouts.

Leading hitters against Hephzibah were Baker who hit 3-4 with 3 singles, 3 RBIs, 3 runs, a walk and 3 stolen bases; Knight, 2-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, a walk and 2 stolen bases; Kessinger, 2-3 with a double, a single, an RBI, 3 runs, a walk and a stolen base; Price, 2-3 with 2 singles, an RBI, 2 runs, a walk and 2 stolen bases; and Brown, 2-4 with a double, a single, 3 RBIs, a run and a stolen base.

Copeland was 1-1 with a single and an RBI; junior JT Philpot, 1-3 with a single, a run, a walk and 2 stolen bases; and sophomore Doug Springer, 1-2 with a single and a run.

Marchman said the Bears will know their seeding for round one of the state playoffs at the conclusion of this week. In the first round, on April 28, BCHS will play at home. Game one will start at 4 p.m. and game two at 7. If there’s a third game, Marchman said, it will be on Saturday. “Our opponent has yet to be decided as teams are finishing up sub-region play and crossover region tournament games this week. Teams we could face are Cairo, Columbus, Northside Columbus, Hardaway and Shaw.”

Tonight (Wednesday, April 19) the Bears baseball team will hold Senior Night and Burke County Recreation Night. Three seniors and their parents will be recognized before the game. At the game’s conclusion, community youth will be invited to the field to participate in a few activities with the Bears.

The game will start at 5:30 p.m. and all recreation players dressed in their uniform will get in free. Also, all recreation coaches wearing coaching shirt and cap will be admitted free and are welcome to join.

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