Local teams spend Spring Break at Forest Aces Classic

By Thomas Grant Jr.

Spring Break has not paused the winning ways of Airport baseball.

Having wrapped up an undefeated season in Region 4-4A, the Eagles opened play Monday at the Forest Aces Classic at A.C. Flora High School.

Their first game was against Class 5A opponent Dorman. Getting a complete game effort on the mound from senior Graham Whittle, Airport defeated the Cavaliers 6-2.

Airport pitcher Graham Whittle

A Coker College commit, Whittle struck out six and allowed just four hits in seven innings. He also had an RBI bunt single for the Eagles, who were led offensively by Brice Gillette with three hits and three RBI.

Both of Dorman’s runs were unearned and came off the result of errors.

“He’s done great all year,” Airport head coach Casey Bradwell said. “He’s a recent Coker commit and excited about that. But he’s done a really good job of just throwing it over the plate and competing using 3-4 pitches. He did a really good job here today. He keeps the ball down in the zone and gets ahead early and does a good job.”

Dorman’s best scoring opportunity was erased in the bottom of the sixth. Jackson Pruitt was on second base when he looked to advance on a flyball by Aaron Sturgil to rightfield.

After making the catch, Airport’s Shane Hanna fired the baseball directly into the waiting glove of Gillette at third base who tagged out Pruitt for the double play.

Airport’s Miller Harrelson 

“He’s done that a number of times over the last couple of years,” Bradwell said. “When we get an opportunity to see it, I get excited when you see it forming. He’s a really good player.”

Airport was scheduled next to face 3-time defending champion and Class 5A titleholder River Bluff on Tuesday. The Gators dominated their opening tournament opponent Oceanside Collegiate of Class 2A 12-0 in a matchup of defending state champions.

University of South Carolina signee Beau Hollins and Garrett Sanders both hit grand slam home runs. Sanders cleared the bases in the bottom of the second and had a team-high five RBI, while Hollins hit his during a six-run third inning.

Stephen Collier also homered for the Gators, whose starter Dalton Corley struck out nine and allowed just three hits.

Brookland-Cayce is also in the Forest Acre Classic. It opened with a 9-2 loss to the host team Falcons.

Preston Coggins went 1-3 with an RBI for the Bearcats, who next played Dutch Fork on Tuesday.

The final day of the tournament is Thursday. Both the 9 a.m. third place and 11:30 a.m. second-place games will go five innings, while the 3 p.m. final will be a traditional seven-inning game.

Photos by Thomas Grant Jr.