Battens hit lifts Ashley Ridge past Beaufort for HIT championship
HANAHAN — Friday the 13th turned out to be a good Friday for the Ashley Ridge baseball team. The Swamp Foxes rallied from a three-run deficit to top Beaufort, 6-5, Friday night to win the Hanahan Invitational Tournament.
Irv Batten had another big hit to win the game. With two out in the bottom of the seventh, he hit a blooper just past the mound that pitcher Mark Jones couldn’t handle. Pinch-runner Jacob Thompson scored from third, and the Swamp Foxes celebrated perhaps the biggest accomplishment in their brief, four-year history.
The night before, Batten had a two-run double that produced the winning runs in a 4-2 decision over Louisville Male (Ky.).
“He’s another great kid,” Ashley Ridge coach B.J. Bellush said of Batten, who plays shortstop. “He’s worked, worked and worked to get better. Our motto is we’ll outwork the other team, and he is a proof of that. He’s done a great job of filling the shoes of Alex Christmas.”
The Swamp Foxes avenged their only loss of the season and improved to 18-1.
Beaufort beat the Swamp Foxes earlier in the season to end Ashley Ridge’s nine-game winning streak.
Bellush was proud of the way his team kept its composure when it trailed by three runs.
“That’s what we preached from Day 1 — mental toughness,” he said. “The kids are mentally tough. They never quit. To get a win against a team like this is a great accomplishment.”
The Swamp Foxes got a gutsy effort from starting pitcher Grant Jenot, who wore No. 13 on Friday the 13th. He scattered seven hits in six innings. Lorenzo White came in in relief and was credited with the victory.
Ashley Ridge took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Bryan Dye and Austin Livingston collected RBI singles. The Eagles roughed up Jenot for three runs in the top of the third inning to take a 5-2 lead.
But the Swamp Foxes didn’t quit. They scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game. Nick Bell’s single to right scored Lorenzo Wright and tied the score to set the stage for Batten.
“We finished second in the region our first two years (of existence),” Bellush said. “Our goal this year is to win some hardware. We wanted to win this. Now, we want to win the region.”
The Swamp Foxes play Colleton County on Monday and then Summerville on Friday in a game that could settle the Region 8-AAAA championship.