The Burke County Bears baseball team finds itself in uncharted waters as it competes for the first time in the “Elite 8” in the State Class AAA playoffs.
Burke County scored four runs in the sixth on its way to a 7-1 victory over the Stephens County Indians in game one on Wednesday. The Bears offense in the inning was led by Jaidyn Foster, Dylan Dixon, Beckam Ramirez, and Myles Heatwole, all driving in runs in the inning.
Earlier, BCHS got things moving in the first inning, with Heatwole driving in one with a single.
Phillip Hodges was credited with the victory for the Bears. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out two and walking none.
Ayden Garmon took the loss for Stephens County. The hurler went five and a third innings, allowing five runs on six hits and striking out eight.
Burke County totaled eight hits in the game with Dixon, Heatwole, and Ramirez having two hits each..
Cruz Mullinix led Stephens County Indians with three hits in three at bats. Stephens County Indians didn’t commit a single error in the field. Nick Randall had the most chances in the field with eight.
Burke County watched game two slip away early and couldn’t recover in a 5-1 loss to the Indians, who took a 1-0 lead on a double by Cruz Mullinix in the first inning.
Stephens County scored three runs in the fifth inning, led by Patrick Murray and Jacob Pruitt, all driving in runs in the frame.
Mullinix toed the rubber for Stephens County Indians, allowing no hits and one run over seven innings, striking out ten.
Hunter Carroll was on the hill for Burke County. He allowed four hits and one run over one and two-third innings, striking out three and walking none. Aiden Roberson and Dylan Dixon entered the game from the bullpen, throwing two and a third innings and two innings respectively.
Dixon led the Bears with one run batted in while going 0 for 3 on the day. Burke County didn’t commit a single error in the field. Brice Marchman had 11 chances, the most on the team.
Stephens County tallied ten hits. Carson Worley led with four hits in four at bats.
A walk-off single propelled the Bears to a decisive, dramatic victory in game three over Stephens County, 4-3. The game was tied at three with Burke County batting in the bottom of the seventh when Beckam Ramirez singled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring one run.
Earlier, in the first inning, Stephens County got their offense started with a single by Ben Stowe, scoring one run.
The Indians evened things up at three in the top of the sixth when Craig Thurmond tripled on a 1-2 count, scoring one run.
Marshall Flowers was the winning pitcher for Burke County. The pitcher went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out three. Aiden Roberson threw one inning in relief out of the bullpen.
Nick Randall took the loss for Stephens County. The pitcher lasted four and a third innings, allowing two hits and two runs while striking out three.
Jahkari Howard went 2 for 2 at the plate to lead Burke County in hits, while Stowe led Stephens County with three hits in four at bats.
At the end of the threegame series, Head Coach Billy Marchman issued the following statement:
“This was a tough fought series and I thought our individual and team toughness finally wore them down in the end. We came into the series with a mindset and an attitude of ‘whatever it takes to win 2 games we are ready to fight.’ Stephens County was a competitive opponent with some talented players and many left handed hitters and pitchers that we have not seen much of throughout the season.
I was very proud of my team for never allowing a few rough moments to affect our emotions negatively. We had our top 2 pitchers battling while being under the weather but they gutted it out and secured us two wins on the mound. We used the next man up approach with every aspect of offense and defense and these guys fed off of one another and displayed strong team chemistry.
Not many know the adversity that this group went through this past week but I can promise you all that they will talk about what they accomplished together for many years to come. We are now headed to the ELITE 8 to face a very good Redan High School in Stone Mountain. They have a very talented roster with a few college DI committed players but we are packing up to go on this road trip to continue fighting and playing our style of baseball. Game 1 will be Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., Game 2 Tuesday at 7:00 pm, and the “IF” Game 3 Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.”
(Editor’s note): The True Citizen will report the results of the May 10-11 games on its website Wednesday.