By: Austin Alexander & Cory Welch – March 10-14, 2021
All is right with baseball when the sun is shining and baseball is being played at the iconic Mike Johnson Park, in this case their 31st annual pre-season showcase of talent! Many Covid challenges were dodged by longtime tournament director Alicia Johnson. Once again a winning event was turned in by the many Georgetown citizens to enjoy another awesome event by the International Papermill.
It was exactly one year ago that the world as we knew it starting to spin in a different direction. For most evaluators, the last opportunity to see baseball last spring was at this tournament. So fittingly after what we have all had to endure, that the weather was absolutely picturesque with zero threat of rain for the entirety of the event. Young men got to play baseball again in a venue that has hosted so many historic moments, Mike Johnson Park. The legendary coach for whom the ballpark is named was in attendance per usual. The stadium had made same very nice upgrades while staying in keeping with the nostalgic look that makes it a desired destination point every March for teams, scouts and dp!
When in G-Town: With chicken” purr-low”, chocolate layered cake, Beach Music tunes ringing out, our man Derrick scouting the neighborhood for foul balls…if only for a few days, everything in the universe looked normal again. Afterall, where else are you going to find parking spots lined off with baseball chalk, what says national pastime better than that?
IP Adjustments: The format was a little different as they opened The IP on Wednesday night for the first time, portions of seating were sectioned off for distancing and games were scheduled three hours apart but the but teen-agers graced the diamond and we were happy to be there.
Game of the Week: Last year the honors went to two arms that twirled a 1-0 masterpiece when a fastball never dipped under 90 MPH. Post Covid, we have to go with the 15-14 marathon thriller that opened up Friday action. In a game-long, see-saw affair that had Summerville defeating Greenwood in the bottom of the 7th, this one had a little bit of everything. Us two dp guys that were there that day are former pitchers and pitching coaches, however, the offense was riveting and was one of those shootouts that you knew may come down to the final pitch, then it did. The order was restored in the next game, a 2-0 quickie. Day 3 featured quality competition in all three contests and made for an enjoyable day at the yard!
The Opener: Kudos are in order for the Carolina Forest Opening Day starter, junior RHP Kellan McDowell. Making his first varsity appearance and seldom pitching at the JV level, McDowell was handed the rock to face South Carolina’s #1 team. He proceeded to throw four scoreless innings. Since he vacated the game, the GreenWave scored 9 runs in the remainder of that night, plated 15 on Friday and 15 again on Saturday, then 11 more in the Championship Game. Pretty solid outing by the newcomer versus a potent offense!
dp Fist Bump: A special thanks goes out to Will Chitty and Lee Thomas for capturing some of the outstanding pictures that you will enjoy in this recap. Both are talented photographers and we appreciate their support!