The year 2015 produced four T&D Region state titles in the sports of baseball and football. Calhoun Academy won SCISA crowns in both sports. Holly Hill Academy won a baseball title and Andrew Jackson Academy capped a perfect season with a football championship. Today: A look at CA’s baseball title. And in Thursday’s T&D, look for collectible posters on the Calhoun Academy and Andrew Jackson football championships.
The 2015 Calhoun Academy Cavaliers baseball team pounded out 11 hits and overcame two key homers from Florence Christian to win 9-6 in the deciding Game 2 on May 14 to sweep the SCISA Class 2A Semifinal series.
Robert Lewis roped a bases-loaded RBI single to give CA a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the fourth and Fuller Prickett followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 7-5. Blake Huddleston’s RBI single in the fifth gave the Cavaliers’ an 8-5 lead and Prickett scored on a wild pitch to increase the lead to 9-5, after opening the sixth inning with a triple. Huddleston pitched 3-1/3 innings of relief to earn the win.
It marked CA’s first berth into the state title series since 2009.
In his 22nd season coaching at CA, head coach Adam Jarecki talked about how this Cavaliers team was special and battled in every game.
“That’s been the most consistent thing with us,” Jarecki said after the semifinal win. “We’ve put the ball in play all year long, and it’s been top to bottom in our lineup for us.”
After storms forced Game 1 of the SCISA Class 2A Baseball State Championship Series to be moved back one day, CA showed up at its home park ready to play. The Cavaliers took an 11-3 win against REL.
Lewis went 3-for-4 with his first career home run and two singles, as the Cavaliers capitalized on multiple errors by the visitors to put the game out of reach.
RBI singles by Prickett and Jackson Fleming (2-for-5) put CA up 8-2 going into the sixth. Lewis and Chipper Brown followed with RBI singles of their own in the sixth to put their team up 10-3, and an error by Robert E. Lee allowed Lewis to cross home plate once more, for the 11-3 score. Wyatt Rucker pitched 6-2/3 innings on the night before being relieved by Huddleston.
Moving to Bishopville for game two, the Cavaliers were determined to avoid playing a game three at a neutral site to decide the state champion. However, defending state champion Robert E. Lee had different ideas.
REL took advantage of four CA errors to even the best-of-three championship series at 1-1 with a 6-5 home win.
CA’s inability to handle a pair of sacrifice bunt attempts in the bottom of the seventh inning ultimately allowed Robert E. Lee to walk off with the win.
CA trailed 3-0 after the first and 5-2 after the second but answered with a two-run second and a three-run third to knot the game at 5-all. But the Cavaliers managed just four base runners over the final four innings, leaving the bases loaded in the fifth.
Moving to Wilson Hall’s field in Sumter for the deciding game three of the series, the Cavaliers (22-5 final record) got a walk-off RBI double from Huddleston in the bottom of the fifth to take a 12-2 victory and the state title over Robert E. Lee (24-11 final record).
“It’s special for the kids,” said Jarecki, who announced in February that he would be leaving CA to coach at Wilson Hall come the summer. “It’s a good note for our seniors to go out on, but it’s big because it’s been a while.”
It was Calhoun Academy’s first state baseball championship since 2008 and Jarecki’s third overall career title at CA, between baseball and football.
Kyle Gray’s two-run single put CA up 4-2 and Chipper Brown followed with an RBI infield single to increase the lead to 5-2. Courtesy runner Caleb Sawyer came home on a wild pitch and Brown later scored on a throwing error to give CA a five-run cushion headed to the fourth.
A two-run homer from Gray highlighted a three-run fourth and capped off a four-RBI night for the CA starting pitcher. Lewis had a sacrifice fly in the inning. Prickett singled to lead off the fifth, eventually coming home on Will Spiers’ RBI fielder’s choice. Caleb Crosby reached base after he was hit with a pitch to set the stage for Huddleston’s walk-off RBI hit.
It was the first state championship for the Cavaliers since 2008.