Airport clinches region baseball title

By Thomas Grant Jr.

The Region 5-4A baseball title was claimed in walkoff fashion Monday by Airport High School.

Cam Atkins’ game-ending 2-run single in the bottom of the fifth gave the Eagles a 13-3 win over North Augusta. It was the fifth RBI of the game for Atkins, who went 3-5 with a solo home run.

The victory set off a celebration in the outfield as Airport improved to 13-1 overall and 10-0 in the region with two games remaining with the Yellow Jackets.

Having clinched the title outright, head coach Casey Bradwell presented his team Region 5-4A championship T-shirts.

“The countless hours we put in the weight room,” said Atkins about his team’s near-perfect start. “We’ve got an indoor facility here and it’s every day, constant. We don’t ever stop. We earned it. We deserve it.”

Airport jumped out to a 9-0 lead through the first four innings. Along with Atkins, winning pitcher Landon Jeffcoat, reliever Brice Gillette, Hunter Epps, Miller Harrelson, Addison Keisler and Price Jackson all drove in a run.

Jeffcoat drew five scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the top of the fifth inning to make it 9-3. After Harrelson was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom half of the inning, Atkins belted a 2-run home run over the leftfield wall to make it 11-3.

Following a scoreless top half of the sixth thrown by Gillette, Daniel Butts and Jeffcoat hit back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Epps popped out to pitcher Brady Jenkins on a bunt attempt and Harrelson followed with a walk to load the bases.

Atkins proceeded to end the game by lining Jenkins’ 2-1 pitch to centerfield. Butts easily scored, while Jeffcoat beat the throw to homeplate for the final run.

“We’ve got some older guys that throw strikes,” Bradwell said. “Defense has played well and we’ve had some timely hits. We’ve done some things during the games…but for the most part, we’ve scored 49-50 runs the past two weeks. It’s been pretty good.”

With a regular season continuing for another month, the Eagles will look to keep playoff-ready in non-region games. They will compete next week at the Forest Acres Classic which will include the host school, Dorman, River Bluff, Oceanside Collegiate and Dutch Fork.

“We’ve got to stay sharp,” Bradwell said. “Nothing is going to change as far as what we do practice-wise or anything like that. It’s just that it’s going to be a little bit less maybe on some pitch counts, stuff like that.”

“I think we’ve got a real shot of go o the state championship,” Atkins said. “I’m pretty confident in my team.”


Gray Collegiate continued its run of non-region games with two decisive victories this past week.

On March 21, the Lady Eagles defeated Irmo 15-2 in five innings. Both Aspen Boulware and Maddie Long hit two home runs and combined for nine RBI.

Both of Boulware’s homers and one by Long came in the first inning. Boulware led off and a liner to right field long enough for her to round the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

With Mackenzie Mathis on base, Long blasted a 2-run homer over the centerfield fence. With the score 6-0 and a runner on first, Boulware sent a conventional home run to centerfield.

Long added a second, 2-run homer and Boulware a 2-run double in the second inning.

On the mound, Peyton Hendrix and Claire McCormick both had three strikeouts each and combined to allow just two hits in the win.

Following another forfeit region win, Gray Collegiate played host Monday to A.C. Flora and won 13-2. Boulware had another 2-home run game and went 3-4 with 2 RBI, while Long went 2-3 with a solo home run.

Hendrix also drove in two runs, and she struck out five batters in relief of Mathis. She struck out four in four innings to pick up the victory.

Before resuming region play, archrivals Brookland-Cayce and Airport faced each other in softball. The Lady Eagles rolled 12-1 in six innings as both Abigail Gartman and Riley Koellner each drove in three runs, Aiden Mayor had two RBI and Courtney Chavis struck out seven in four innings for the win.

Airport’s winning ways ended with a doubleheader loss to North Augusta. The Lady Eagles dropped Game 1 2-1 on a walkoff RBI single and were shut out 6-0 in Game 2.