The Hinesville Barracudas got their summer baseball schedule off to a good start by taking third place in the gold bracket of the Memorial Day Tournament last weekend in Savannah.
“This was a great start to the summer,” Barracudas coach Chris Bell said. “We played some very talented teams and ended up tied for third. I could not be prouder of our pitching staff and our defense. The hard work they have put in those areas really paid off this weekend.”
The Barracudas won, 12-0, over the Carolina Stars in their first game. Bell said Kyle Hill pitched a two-hit shutout, while the Hinesville batters got 18 hits in the victory.
In their second game, the Barracudas rallied in the final inning to earn a 3-2 win over the West Georgia Warriors Axe Bats.
Bell said starter Evan Crystal pitched five strong innings, and Stephen Felton pitched one scoreless inning in relief as the two pitchers held the Axe Bats to one hit. Trailing 2-0 going into the final inning, Hinesville scored three runs, capped by Jacari Roberts’ walk-off, two-run bloop single.
Going 2-0 earned the Barracudas the fourth seed in the gold bracket, and they drew Southern Select in a single-elimination game.
Bell said the game was tied 0-0 going into the sixth when Southern Select misplayed a ground ball. With a runner on first, Barracuda batter Jermaine Davila bunted to advance the runner to second. Crystal came up with a run-scoring single to break the deadlock, and Hinesville opened it up with three more runs for the 4-0 win. “Again, we had a dominant pitching performance by our staff,” Bell said. “Kendrick Shipman pitched seven shut-out innings, giving up only two hits and striking out eight.”
In the semifinals, the Barracudas once again faced the Warriors, but this time the outcome was different as the Warriors won, 9-3.
The Warriors converted a double play off a line drive by Chris Bell Jr. in the first inning, but Davila hit the ball deep to score two runs.
Roberts pitched well until the Warriors struck for four runs in the third inning for a 4-2 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Warriors had a 7-2 lead and two runners on base when Roberts was relieved by Bell on the mound. The Warriors managed to drive in both runners.
The Hinesville boys did drive in one more run but couldn’t mount another comeback.
“Offensively, we just could not get the hits when they counted,” coach Bell said, adding they left eight runners on base in the first three innings.
This weekend, Hinesville heads to Cumming for the Triple Crown Open State Championship. Bell said it is a three-day tournament that features 31 teams in the 15-under age bracket.