MOUNT PLEASANT -- The Wando Warriors baseball team showed resilience and resolve Monday night with a 12-1 victory over Beaufort in a Class AAAA playoff elimination game which was contested at Warriors Field.
Now, the Warriors hope to get some revenge.
The Warriors, the state's top team and ranked as high as No. 3 in the country in one national poll, faced elimination after getting knocked off by North Augusta on Saturday. The Warriors got a strong pitching effort from junior Jordan Eysen and some clutch hitting by Evan Hunt to up their record to 24-2 with the victory over Beaufort. The game was called after five innings because of the mercy rule.
The victory gives the Warriors a rematch at North Augusta on Wednesday. The Warriors must beat the Yellow Jackets two times in the double-elimination tournament to remain alive and advance to the Lower State Championship Series.
"It's a tough situation, but it's been done before," said Wando coach Jeff Blankenship, whose team is No. 3 in the nation according to Perfect Game and No. 9 in the USA Today poll. "Two years ago, we were in a similar situation against Hartsville and pulled it out. Last year, (state champion) Gaffney was in the same situation in the district and Upper State Championship (Series) and came back to win."
Blankenship didn't want to tip his hand, but confirmed that standout Drew Cisco will pitch the first game against North Augusta and Reid Langdale will pitch the second game if the Warriors are still alive.
"The coaches sat down and talked about it," he said. "If we lose the first game, we can't lose with the best pitcher in the state sitting on the bench."
Cisco wasn't his typical self in the 3-2 loss against North Augusta. He entered the game with only five walks in 47 1/3 innings, but walked four Yellows Jackets in a complete game. He also allowed eight hits.
"It was a case of a couple of hits that fell between our outfielders or a bunt that wasn't played correctly," Blankenship said. "We feel confident that Drew will be ready Wednesday."
North Augusta ace Taylor Guerrieri, a junior who has already committed to play for the University of South Carolina, pitched a four-hitter against Wando on Saturday. Look for him to sit out the first game and pitch the nightcap if needed.
On Monday night, Eysen pitched four scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out three to raise his record to 5-0. He also collected two hits.
Hunt was 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
Hunt's two-run double to left center gave Wando a 6-0 lead in the second inning.
The Warriors put the game away with a six-run fourth inning.
Hunt had a two-run single, Nick Ciuffo drove in a run with a single, while Brad Cherry, William James and Tyler Karolczyk drove in runs.
WANDO 12, BEAUFORT 1
Beaufort 000 01--1 4 1
Wando 330 6x--12 9 0
WP--Eysen (5-0). LP--Brown (0-2). Records: W 23-2; B 17-10. Next: Wando at North Augusta Wednesday. Notes: Hunt 2-for-3, 4 RBIs; Eysen 2-for-2; Cisco 1-for-2, 3 runs, 2 RBIs.
Beaufort -- 000 01 -- 1 - 4 - 1
Wando -- 330 6x -- 12 - 9 - 0
WP - Eysen (5-0). LP - Brown (0-2).
Records: Wando 23-2; Beaufort 17-10.