Fox Creek overtakes Wagener-Salley

Region play has continued to be kind to the Predators.

Fox Creek High School’s varsity baseball team thumped Wagener-Salley 19-2. Roby Gillespie went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and Brent Lacey went 2-for-3 with three RBIs of his own. Terrance Hillary also helped the cause by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Darshon Broadwater also had multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-3.

Andrew Buist notched the win on the mound to move his record to 5-1 on the year. He struck out eight War Eagles and allowed one earned run on two hits. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate.

Following a split of a doubleheader against Aiken the day before, the Predators (16-2, 8-1 Region 4-A) were able to show their mental fortitude by focusing on an opponent that they knew they could overmatch.

“It started out kind of slow, because we’re not used to teams who play as fast as them,” said Wesley Brown, Fox Creek head coach on the split against Aiken. “You could kind of see that they got better and better as it went. We had our opportunity to win against Aiken in the first one, but we pulled through in the second one. That’s a good test for us and a statement for our program for this year. We have beat some bigger schools this year and we’re going in the right direction.”

The schedule has been an awkward one for the Predators, who are facing yet another long layoff due to spring break and rainouts.

“That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me; it’s really been a weird year,” Brown said. “They’ve responded well, and I think there for a while the Ridge Spring loss (the Predators’ first loss of the year) was a testament to being off so much. I think that woke them up, and we’ve started clicking again this week. The layoffs aren’t really phasing them that much. I hate having these layoffs, but it is what it is.”

Coming up this week, Fox Creek will play at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler on Thursday, a game that was scheduled to happen on Monday. The Abbeville game that was scheduled for Thursday has been pushed back to Saturday at 5 p.m., and it will be Fox Creek’s final scheduled home game of the year.

A win against H-K-T would sew up the No. 1 seed in the region for the Predators.

“We got to win it just to say we did it ourselves,” Brown said. “We go in there Thursday and we’ll wrap the region up.”

The biggest test, however, will be on Wednesday. The Predators will travel to Silver Bluff and play the Bulldogs at 6 p.m. It’s a game with some extra emphasis for Brown, who graduated from Silver Bluff High School.

“This is a big week here, we play two big AA schools and both of them are ranked in the Top 10 in the state for AA,” he said. “(It’s) another good test for us with the way I set up the schedule heading into the playoffs.”

The final game of the regular season will be at Wagener-Salley on Monday.

With the way that Brown set the schedule, however, with tests against Aiken, Silver Bluff and Abbeville, he hopes his team will be more prepared come playoff time.

“I preach to them that every day you have to play, no matter who you play,” he said. “When we seem to play the better teams, the guys tend to be more focused, and I guess that’s my fault. They seem to really step up to the challenge when we play bigger, more competitive schools. They know Silver Bluff has kind of grown into our rival since I’ve been at Fox Creek, and we play them so much. They get up for that particular game anyhow.”