State Championship Preview


By: DP Staff-May 11, 2008

In January, over 200 baseball teams began practice with high hopes of playing during the week of May 12-16. Hundreds of games were played, some were blowouts, some kept us on the edge of our seat. But after all of that, here we are with eight teams still alive and vying for a 2008 State Championship!

Attendance at ballparks large and small have been at an all-time high…prep baseball in our state is alive and well!

In 2008, Diamond Prospects was been privileged to have a front row seat to personal triumphs, big errors, raunchy calls by umpires, walk-off homers, Web Gems, injury, midnight games, double plays, mental mistakes, a left-handed shortstop, more bad calls, suicide squeezes, a deer running across the outfield, a dog running across the infield, sac bunts, more bad calls, collisions, thrown helmets, infield/outfield, hustle, laziness, comebacks, choke jobs, ball four, strike three (some were on bad calls) and a girl playing first base in a Varsity game!

It has all led us to this point.

By the end of the week, four towns will anoint their local heroes and four baseball programs will have to watch an opponent celebrate. Four teams will win, four won’t. What takes place in the next few days will provide these young men with memories of a lifetime. Years from now, local fans will reminisce about the big hit, big pitch, big play and ole "what’s his name" that did it all.

With that said, if your team is finished and you love this game, find one of these contests and support the kids that have paid the price to play in South Carolina’s most meaningful games.

The State Finals are upon us, let’s enjoy baseball in its purest form!


Diamond Prospects covered over 250 games in 2008. We put our efforts together over the past three months to condense all of the information we have on the teams that will do battle this week. Today, we provide you a cheat sheet of names and info as well as some keys to success and things to look for throughout the series. Print it off and takes it to the games, see how things play out!


4A Capsule

Upper State Winner: Boiling Springs Bulldogs

Head Coach: Jeff Lipscomb

Record: 22-6

Region: II

Key Players: Jeffrey Campbell (.435, 6 2B, 9 HR, 26 RBI, 8 SB), Hunter Rice (.368, 8 HR, 30 RBI), Cameron Holmes (7 HR, 22 RBI), Jimmy Revan (.351, 9 2B, 3 HR, 30 RBI), Josh Pless (6 2B, 2 HR), Taylor Hollifield

Key Pitchers: Jimmy Revan (11-0, 0.73 ERA, 65.2 IP, 107 K, 19 BB), Cameron Holmes (2-1, 1.60 ERA, 30 IP, 32 K, 9 BB), Hunter Rice (4-1, 3.84 ERA, 20.1 IP, 19 K, 14 BB)

Keys to success: Keep riding that belief that they cannot lose! They have won games every way possible, several in late-night, thrilling fashion…Senior Jimmy Revan and Cameron Holmes, who appears healthy again, form a duo of southpaws that will have to throw well for the Bulldogs… Offense! 33 dingers on the season in a hitter’s park, this line-up has proven it can recover from any sort of deficit… No fear. They went to North Augusta and pulled off an improbable doubleheader win with their backs against the wall… Home field advantage. Bulldog fans have long since been known as a very rowdy bunch. Expect nothing different on Monday as the joint will be jammed and that could have an impact…


Lower State Winner: Conway Tigers

Head Coach: Anthony Carroll

Record: 28-2

Region: VI

Key Players: Mac Doyle (.506, 9 2B, 11 HR, 31 RBI), Jeff Caskey, Sport Rabon, Ryne Hardwick, Bobby Watford

Key Pitchers: Colby Holmes (9-1, 0.97 ERA, 65 IP, 110 K, 14 BB), Bobby Watford (8-0, 0.69 ERA, 61 IP, 73 K), James Floro, Haddon Childs

HolmesC-finish.JPGKeys to success: Conway has ridden two legit arms in Colby Holmes (right) and Bobby Watford to this point but they do have depth on the mound too. Mac Doyle paces the offense but is nicely insulated with dangerous hitters. Conway gloves it well and has proven they can win close games. The Tigers also ride into this week on a long winning streak and have tons of confidence when they play, as evidenced by the way they beat Stratford on Friday to get to this point.

Series Outlook: Game 1 is huge, period. The first one is always critical but if the Tigers return home with a series lead, it could spell trouble for the Bulldogs… Both clubs enter the series with their pitching staff’s in tact and on normal rest. Conway sends two DoyleM-tossingback.JPGhard-throwing CampbellJ-stride.jpgright-handers with power breaking balls out for Games 1 and 2, Boiling Springs will counter with two mid-80’s southpaws with plus change-ups, all four have been dominant in 2008 but in different ways. The Tigers emerge from a very strong Region VI where they have seen quality pitching all season long, but they have not faced the likes of fastball/change-up lefties like Revan and Holmes… The catching in this series features South Carolina’s top two backstops Conway’s Mac Doyle (left) and Boiling Springs’ Jeffrey Campbell (right). Not only do they lead their teams in hitting, they are also the two best defenders in the senior class. Both can completely shut down the running game, therefore the long ball and sacrifice bunts will come into play. Which one has the better week could determine who our champion is… Travel will be a factor as well. Who can get off a four-hour bus ride and play? That remains to be seen… Two very accomplished clubs that play a different brand of baseball but are playing well at the right time, it should create plenty of excitement in a series that could come down to the final pitch!


3A Capsule

Upper State Winner: AC Flora Falcons

Head Coach: Andy Hallett

Record: 22-9

Region: III

Key Players: Jay Wilson, Robert Gibbes, Will Freeman, Kyle O’Quinn, Leland Shealy, Adger Rice, Duy Phan

Key Pitchers: Alex Mitchell, Will Freeman, Joseph O’Steen, Evan Brown, James Newman

WilsonJay07.jpgKeys to success: After losing nearly everybody from 2007’s championship run, Andy Hallett’s club is right back in the same spot a year later. But not without some hardship as Connor Lewis has been out all season and their mound ace Pat Sullivan was lost for the year a month ago. Yet, here they are… Catcher Jay Wilson (left) paces the offense and is a critical component to the pitching staff and defense. His influence throughout each game will be huge. Will Freeman has been used in a variety of ways and his role on the mound, at the plate and in the outfield should be noted… Robert Gibbes has had the hot hand at the plate during the post-season with clutch hit after clutch hit. His bat will get respect throughout the series but especially late in the game… Good, hard-nosed, scrappy bunch of kids that have overcome quite a bit to be playing in this series and don’t mind the underdog tag.


Lower State Winner: Brookland-Cayce Bearcats

Head Coach: Brian Hucks

Record: 28-2

Region: IV

Key Players: Adam Westmoreland (.429, 6 2B, 9 HR, 40 RBI), OB Johnson (.415, 8 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 SB), To’Nel Legette (.354, 7 2B, 4 HR, 12 SB), Justin Gross (.366, 8 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBI), Charles Martin (.315, 4 2B, 4 HR)

Key Pitchers: Adam Westmoreland (8-1, 0.83 ERA, 59 IP, 117 K, 23 BB), James Hall (7-0, 1.89 ERA, 37 IP, 48 K), Jeff Estep (3-1)

WestmorlandA-closeup.jpgKeys to success: When will the big fella return? Adam Westmoreland (left) has not thrown on short rest much this season, how will he respond if called upon on Wednesday after throwing last Friday on three days rest? Fortunately for Brian Hucks, the Bearcats have a very viable Game 1 starter in James Hall, whose record is unblemished in 2008. Westmoreland has figured out what that aluminum pole is this spring and is the main cog in that line-up but OB Johnson and To’Nel Legette must also set the table. The Bearcats hit a speed bump on Friday night but will not see an arm like Josh Adams in this series. Like Hallett, Hucks has a strong reputation of getting the most out of his kids, in this case he also has a veteran club too.

Series Outlook: Two very well-coached teams that know each other well. Should be no need for scouting report swapping in this series as the Falcons return to the Title games but with a completely new club. The Bearcats have a senior-laden team and a marquee player as well which presents quite a challenge for AC Flora. Expect large crowds in each game of this series that is poised to give us good fundamental baseball to go with two programs that really want to win a trophy this week.


2A Capsule

Upper State Winner: Gilbert Indians

Head Coach: Ashley Burnett

Record: 24-4

Region: IV

Key Players: Chris Owings, Kyle Owings, Adam Spires, Chip Mallory, Austin LaBounty, Desmond Kennedy

Key Pitchers: Kyle Owings, Desmond Kennedy, Jake Padgett, Drew Welborn

OwingsK-balance.JPGKeys to success: Owings x 2 and the supporting cast! Kyle Owings (right) will likely take the mound on Monday and needs to set the tone for the week, nothing new to this kid as he has plenty of big game experience. Chris Owings has emerged as one of South Carolina’s top players in addition to being a defensive wizard and offensive catalyst of the Indian offense. Gilbert will go as the Owings brothers go. However, line-up depth and a solid pitching staff reveal that they do have a quality ball club that is also very well-groomed for the post-season.


Lower State Winner: Dillon Wildcats

Head Coach: Gregg Dozier

Record: N/A

Region: VII

Key Players: Anthony Smith, Dustin Britt, L’Twane Thompson, Phillip Herring, Kyle Johnson

Key Pitchers: Travis Murphy, Jay Harrison, Kyle Jackson

BrittD-ondeck.JPGKeys to success: The nucleus of Dillon’s club has played in a State Championship Series, two years ago as a AAA team against Riverside. Dillon has some very athletic kids with some power, starting with Anthony Smith who has been hitting down in the order. Dustin Britt is the table-setter and a good middle infielder, the Wildcats are also strong behind the plate with Phillip Herring. Dillon had to knock off some tough opponents to remain alive, so they are battle-tested.

OwingsC-fielding2.JPGSeries Outlook: Both clubs are deep on the mound and in the line-up, especially for a smaller school. The Dillon pitching corps features a little more velocity, while Gilbert arms rely on location and changing speeds, which could be the Wildcats kryptonite. Gilbert boasts arguably 2A’s best player in junior Chris Owings (right) and if he plays like he normally does, Dillon will have their work cut out for them. As always, Game 1 is critical. Two different clubs have reached the same stage, it should be interesting!


1A Capsule

Upper State Winner: Chesterfield Golden Rams

Head Coach: Jimmy Weatherford

Record: N/A

Region: III

Key Players: Richie Dixon, Jeremy Curtis, Paul Robson, Josh Zearfoss

Key Pitchers: Kelly Butler, Brandon Sellers

Keys to success: Best players must play well, beginning with Richie Dixon. They have Game 1 at home and their performance on Monday will be critical… How they handle the Raider power arms. Though Chesterfield made an impressive charge through the Upper State, they have not seen arm strength like they will face in this series. If they are not over-matched, their athleticism will give them a good shot.


Lower State Winner: Bamberg-Ehrhardt Raiders

Head Coach: David Horton

Record: N/A

Region: V

Key Players: Don Sandifer, Kody Breland, Brandon Bamberg, Zack Godfrey, Ross Nettles

Key Pitchers: Don Sandifer, Zack Godley

godleyz-power08.jpgSandiferD-sign07.JPGKeys to success: The Raider pitching staff and Don Sandifer’s bat are their strength. Few small schools can boast of having two mid to upper-80’s arms on their staff like Sandifer and Zack Godley (left). Coach David Horton has been in this position many times before, including last spring, that should pay dividends for Bamberg-Ehrhardt.

Series Outlook: Chesterfield is entering this series as the prohibitive underdog, not so much for what they may lack but more for what Bamberg-Ehrhardt will send to the bump. Don Sandifer (left) will be the key in this series, if his potent bat and arm show up, it will be an uphill climb for Chesterfield.