Summerville Surging

Green Wave junior Hootie Gibson is 3-1 as a pitcher this season and also sports a .486 batting average.

Opponents better give a "Hoot" when they play the Summerville baseball team this spring.

The Green Wave, ranked No. 6 in the state in the latest coaches' poll, is 8-4 overall and 3-0 in Region 8-AAAA. One of the big reasons for the Green Wave's success is the play of junior Hoot Gibson, who has been a force at the plate and powerful on the mound. The left-hander owns a 3-1 record as a pitcher and is hitting .486 at the plate. He was the catalyst for the Green Wave's early season success, providing the big hit in a 4-3 victory over Bishop England in the second game of the season. That victory gave the Green Wave a big boost of confidence.

Gibson and his teammates trailed the Bishops 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh of the March 10 game, and the Green Wave looked in trouble as the first two batters were retired in the bottom of the seventh inning. But the Green Wave got two runners on and Gibson came to the plate. He fell behind 0-2 and the Green Wave was one pitch away from a tough loss. But Gibson hit a pitch over the fence in left field and the Green Wave had a dramatic win.

"That was our most dramatic win," said longtime Summerville coach Burt Bazzle said. "But our win over James Island was just as big. James Island was undefeated, and Kyle Downs pitched a heck of a game."

Summerville won the game 5-0 as Downs held the Trojans to only two hits. He owns a 3-0 record and has an impressive 0.80 ERA.

The Green Wave has a good blend of experience with three sophomores, three juniors and three seniors in the starting lineup.

Bazzle is encouraged with his depth on the mound.

"If you want to go far in the playoffs, you have to have that depth," he said. "You go only as far as your pitching will take you. Kyle Downs has given us a huge lift out of the gate. We are all excited about what we think we can accomplish with this group. We have quite a few players back from last year and some talented new ones who give us good balance."

Senior Tyler Fletcher is the other pitcher in the three-man rotation, and he's had some tough luck. He lost to Wando, the No. 1 team in the state, and also lost two times to James Island in a preseason tournament. I'm sure he'll get his share of wins."

Junior first baseman Gabe Craven is batting near .400 and provides good pop from the plate, while junior infielder Matt Chapman provides good defense.

He's started to come along at the plate and had two hits in three straight games for the Green Wave.

Sophomore Matt Windham is in his second year as the starting catcher and provides good defense.