West Ashley falls in HIT finals, 8-2

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One night after banging out 13 hits in a 17-7 semifinal win over Wando, the West Ashley High bats were silenced in an 8-2 loss to Dobyns-Bennett High of Kingsport, Tenn., in the championship game of the 46th annual Hanahan Invitational Tournament.

Two Indians pitchers combined to no-hit West Ashley as the Wildcats struck out 12 times. West Ashley managed two runs in a fifth inning that included four walks, two wild pitches and two passed balls.

“Sometimes over the course of a long week, you have nights like this,” said West Ashley head coach Tyson Azevedo. “I felt very fortunate that we were able to make it this far. We battled all week, but sometimes baseball has a funny way of evening things out. We just couldn’t get the bats rolling tonight and it’s unfortunate.”

Tournament most valuable player Caleb Cooke — an East Tennessee State signee — hit a three-run homer and closed out the final 2 2/3 innings on the mound, striking out five. His teammate, designated hitter Alex White, also belted a three-run blast to break a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth inning.

Dobyns-Bennett starter Logan McDavid struck out seven hitters in 4 1/3 innings of work. McDavid struggled with control, walking six, before leaving in the fifth with the bases loaded. West Ashley scratched for two runs on balls to the backstop but left two runners on base in the inning.

Four West Ashley pitchers combined to walk seven hitters — four of which ended up scoring.

“When we struggle in the pitching area, it has been walks and tonight it was a problem,” said Azevedo. “I think we may have played with too much pressure on our backs tonight.”

The Indians came into this year’s tournament with four losses but went 5-0 this week, including wins over Berkeley and Hanahan on Wednesday.

“We got a lot of good pitching outings this week and it’s a real honor to win a tournament like this,” said Dobyns-Bennett head coach Ryan Wagner. “It’s a great win for our program and our school and I think it helped us come together as a team. We really have a lot of respect for the baseball that is played down here, so we’re excited about the way we performed against really good competition all week.”

For West Ashley, the all-important Region 7-AAAA wars resume on Monday with a three-game series against James Island.

“We face a very formidable opponent next week and hopefully we can put this behind us and be ready mentally to go on Monday night,” said Azevedo.

In the junior varsity championship game, Summerville’s Hunter Shaw belted two home runs to lead the Green Wave to a 13-7 win over Wando.