Which is more impressive: a five-inning no-hitter or a three-inning perfect game?
That was one of the only issues still under debate after Greenbrier's dominant first-round series sweep in the Class AAAAA state playoffs Friday. The home-standing Wolfpack defeated Windsor Forest, 10-0 and 20-0.
In Game 1, right-hander Shawn McCain got out of a bit of trouble in the first inning, then coasted from there, striking out 10 of the 18 batters he faced. He did not allow a hit over five innings, throwing a no-hitter for the first time this season.
In Game 2, the Wolfpack scored 20 runs in only three innings. Because of the mercy rule, the game ended then, meaning lefty Chad Farmer only faced nine batters during his short time on the mound. He dominated, though, striking out seven of them while not allowing a single base runner.
The Wolfpack had no trouble scoring runs, combining for 19 hits and 30 runs over eight total innings. The disparity between hits and runs came about because the Knights' pitchers had trouble finding the plate throughout the afternoon.
Windsor Forest, which came into the series with just one win on the season, was the No. 5 seed in its region.
However, the No. 4 seed decided it could not make the trip for the playoffs, so the Knights served as a replacement.
Effingham County 10, Lakeside 6;
Lakeside 9, Effingham County 4;
Lakeside 11, Effingham County 0
(Lakeside wins series 2-1)
After the Panthers grabbed an early lead Friday, their defense let them down.
Four errors allowed Effingham County back into the game, and the Rebels stole Game 1 of the Class AAAA state playoff opener.
Lakeside righted the ship for Game 2, leaving no doubt about whether the teams would have to play a rubber game to decide the first-round series. The Panthers pushed across eight runs in the first three innings, and Wil Hogan's strong effort on the mound gave Lakeside a comfortable, five-run victory.
Game 3 on Saturday featured a dominant pitching effort from senior Ben Black, a USC-Aiken signee. The Panthers put up 11 runs to win the deciding game, scoring in every inning, but one run would have been enough.
Black shut out the Rebels, retiring them in order in every inning but the first.
In Game 3, Black finished with three hits, while Kody Belcher, Jeff Stoner and Clayton Miller notched two hits each.
Harlem 2, South Effingham 1
Harlem 6, South Effingham 5
(Harlem wins series 2-0)
On paper, the first-round series in the Class AAAA state playoffs counts simply as a home sweep for the Bulldogs on Friday.
In reality, it was a riveting series, complete with a pair of nine-inning, one-run games that went Harlem's way.
The Bulldogs outlasted the Mustangs, 2-1, in Game 1. They managed to win despite not leading the contest until Josh Wirsu singled in Zach Morris with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
In Game 2, Harlem trailed 5-1 going into the seventh inning, and it appeared as if the series would go to a deciding third game. However, the Bulldogs drew consecutive bases-loaded walks before Morris hit a two-run double to tie the game.
Harlem would go on to win in the ninth.
Along with timely hitting, the key for Harlem was a pair of complete games from Derek Beasley and Wirsu. Both pitchers went well over 100 pitches to earn their wins.
Ware County 10, Evans 8
Ware County 4, Evans 0
(Ware County wins series 2-0)
The Knights put up a fight in Game 1 but couldn't quite get over the hump. Meanwhile, the Gators silenced the visiting Knights' bats in Game 2 to secure a first-round sweep in the Class AAAA state playoffs Friday.
The Gators jumped ahead 6-0 after two innings in the first game then piled on a few more before the Knights got on track offensively.
Evans scored one run in the fourth, then managed six runs in the fifth to narrow the deficit to two. But Ware County held tough, winning 10-8 in Game 1.
For Evans, Jordan Rice had three hits, while Tevin Nelson, Donald Cockerham and Kyle Stark each had a pair of hits.
In Game 2, a two-run homer in the second inning and a two-run double in the sixth were enough in a 4-0 victory.
"We fell behind early, the kids battled, but they just couldn't get it," head coach Ricky Beale said. "I think that took a lot out of us, to rally like we did, but come up short."
Evans finished the season at 18-8.
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