With over a week to go before the start of the Region 2-AAAAA baseball tournament, Greenbrier High School head coach Jason Osborn wanted to get work for both of his top starters Wednesday afternoon.
The plan worked to success as the Wolfpack rallied for three sixth-inning runs and held off the South Aiken Thoroughbreds 5-4.
Sophomore Connor Hogan entered with a 6-0 mark and worked the first 3.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Junior sidearmer Nick Sandlin entered with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth. He got a force out to end the inning after the Thoroughbreds scored twice and led 3-1.
When the Wolfpack (14-4) rallied for three runs in the sixth, Sandlin allowed one run before shutting the door, running his record to 6-0 in the process.
“That was kind of our plan to split the game up,” said Osborn. “Connor (Hogan) struggled a little in that fourth inning and we had Nick to come in and get the job done. Both those guys have been lights out for us this year.”
Sandlin keyed the Wolfpack’s rally with a triple to the wall in right and scored on Chris Michals’ single to left. Adam Sasser, who brought the team within 3-2 on a solo home run in the fourth inning, doubled home Michals and scored on Knox Marchman’s single to left.
“The ball looked pretty big today,” said Sasser, who knocked in the team’s first run with a bases-loaded walk in the first inning. “With those two (Hogan and Sandlin), we’re bound to win.”
In the top of the seventh, the Thoroughbreds’ (6-8) Mason Collins drew a leadoff walk, was singled to third by Josh Kiser and came home on Alex Mills’ single to center to make it 5-4. Sandlin got a key first out striking out Preston Dawson who had homered to left and singled in a run in his first two at-bats.
“Anytime you get a lead you hate to see a leadoff walk, but getting the first out is big,” said Osborn.
Sandlin then got a foul out to the catcher before Snipes caught Will Holbrook’s high fly to left down the line at the base of the 330-foot sign. The Wolfpack will play Monday at Burke County before playing host in the region tournament opener as a No. 1 seed on Friday.
“It’s important to win and do a lot of the little things right,” said Osborn of the time leading up to the tournament. “We’ve got some time off which makes all us coaches nervous, but I know these guys, they’ll be in here hitting a couple times a day and we’ll get our work in, but not having game action is what worries you a little bit.”
South Aiken 010 200 0 – 4 8 0
Greenbrier 100 103 X – 5 7 2
Will Holbrook, Will Varnadore (5) and Owen Griffith. Connor Hogan, Nick Sandlin (4) and Davis Murray. WP–Sandlin (6-0). LP–Varnadore (0-2)
2B-Mason Collins (S), Adam Sasser (G); 3B-Sandlin (G); HR-Preston Dawson (S), Sasser (G)
Leading hitters: South Aiken–Dawson 2-3 2 RBI, Alex Mills 2-4 RBI; Greenbrier-Sasser 2-2 3 RBI, Sandlin 2-3.
Records: South Aiken 6-8; Greenbrier 14-4. Next: Greenbrier at Burke County, 5 p.m., Monday, April 14.