Thursday's night first-round game between visiting Colleton County and second-ranked West Ashley didn't exactly have a playoff atmosphere.
The two teams met for the third time this season, with similar results each time. This time, West Ashley took advantage of six Colleton County errors and mustered up a 5-1 victory.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA baseball, improved to 19-4 on the season and will host West Florence, a 1-0 winner over White Knoll, at 7 p.m. Friday in the winners' bracket of District VII.
In other Class AAAA playoff action Thursday night, Wando outlasted Ashley Ridge, 2-1, in eight innings to open the District VIII tournament; Summerville edged Lugoff-Elgin, 2-0, in District VI; and Goose Creek knocked off Beaufort, 3-2, in nine innings in District V.
Wando is at Dutch Fork next, while Summerville goes to top-ranked Sumter and Goose Creek will host Ridge View, a 4-2 winner over defending state champion Lexington.
In Class AA, Academic Magnet opened with a 10-0 victory over Silver Bluff, and will next face the winner between Bishop England and Bamberg-Ehrhardt. That game was postponed by rain until Friday night.
West Ashley coach Mitch Miggenburg said his team was "really flat" against Colleton County, a squad the Wildcats beat by 16-1 and 6-2 during the season.
"We were not very excited," said Miggenburg. "It certainly did not have a playoff type feel to it. It was hard for our kids to really get up for this game. They've played Colleton County twice and won fairly easily. We talked to them about the this being the playoffs and how we needed to be mentally sharp but we really didn't respond mentally. We're going to have to play a lot better from here on out."
Colleton County put together two hits in the top of the first inning off West Ashley starter Jordan Merritt. The Cougars grabbed a brief 1-0 lead on Dustin Call's sacrifice fly to center.
West Ashley answered in the bottom half with Jonathan Sabo's sacrifice fly scoring Tyrie Blalock.
The Wildcats took advantage of three errors to plate two runs in the second with Jamie Duke and Blalock each delivering runs on ground balls.
West Ashley added a run in the fourth and a run in the sixth but finished the game with only two hits. Senior left fielder Will Hardy had a pair of safeties with Sabo, Taylor Oden and Connor Wohnig adding singles.
Miggenburg was pleased with Merritt's performance. The junior right-hander, who has committed to The Citadel, improved to 6-1 on the season, scattering five hits.
"I thought he threw well," said Miggenburg. "He gave up a run early but settled in and threw a lot of strikes. Our defense was pretty good behind him. It was a good performance for him."
Miggenburg says ace Jonathan Sabo will get the ball against West Florence.
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