Published on 3/25/2008
By R.G. Greene
Forty-four prep baseball teams from seven different states are currently in the midst of the Mingo Bay - formerly Hawaiian Tropic - Classic.
For the out-of-state squads - teams from West Virginia, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania have made the journey to the Grand Strand - the tournament is just the beginning of the season.
For county teams like Georgetown, Andrews and Waccamaw the event serves as a mid-year refresher.
"Typically, this gives you an opportunity to change things up a little bit," Waccamaw coach Jeff Gregory said. "You can switch your lineup around or take a look at your (reserves) and see what they can do. It can be an opportunity for those guys to show how they can help you in the second half of the season."
The tournament also offers Palmetto State teams a chance to regroup before resuming their region schedules.
"Our players always look forward to this tournament," Andrews coach Roland Clemons said. "There are a lot of quality teams involved. It's a great opportunity to show what you can do."
Said Georgetown coach Mike Johnson, "There's a lot at stake in your region games. Our region (6-AAA) has been very competitive this season. It seems like every game has been a real battle. (The Mingo Bay) tournament offers us a chance to take a step back from that. We can relax and have fun this week. It makes for a nice break."
Georgetown and Waccamaw have been host sites for the first three days of the tournament along with St. James, Socastee, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, Aynor, Loris and Carolina Forest - Andrews is playing its games at St. James.
Pool play continues through today before the teams are divided into six brackets - five with eight teams, one with four squads -- on Thursday based on record and run differential in pool play. From there, the tournament switches to a single elimination format with championship games in each bracket scheduled for Saturday.
Though winning and losing doesn't have any lasting consequences, a successful tournament can serve as a springboard into the second half of the season.
"We don't think our record indicates the kind of team we are," said Johnson, whose team is 3-6 overall. "We're not happy with a losing record, but we feel like we have something here.
"We've had a good start (2-1) in the region and we need to stay with it and continue to do what we've been doing."
SEE MINGO, Page 11A
Though the Mingo Bay tournament usually coincides with spring break, timing in regards to the season can vary - the previous two events were held more toward the end of the year.
That the 2008 event is transpiring in the middle of the season has pleased most coaches.
"You have some time to recover from injuries and get some things corrected," Gregory said. "That should help us get prepared for the second half of the year."
GEORGETOWN 13, VIRGINIA (Va.) 3: Chris Wall went the distance for the Bulldogs, striking out nine. At the plate, Wall finished 4-5 with a double and two RBIs.
B.J. McConnell hit a pair of solo homers for Georgetown.
Georgetown played Tri-Valley (N.Y.) on Tuesday night and is scheduled to host Van (W.Va.) today at 4:30 p.m.
WILLIAMSPORT (Pa.) 7, ANDREWS 1: Bobby Donato finished with three hits and two RBIs and Lucas Mahaffey added two hits and drove in one to lead the Millionaires.
Timmy Wilson's RBI double accounted for Andrews' run.
Andrews (10-2) faced St. Albans (W.Va.) on Tuesday and squares off against host St. James today at 2 p.m.
LAKE CITY 15, WACCAMAW 3: Seven errors helped seal the Warriors fate against Lake City.
Kendall Anderson and Aaron Bishop each had a hit and drove in one for Waccamaw (4-7).
Waccamaw played South Charleston (W.Va.) on Tuesday and will host Deep Run (Va.) today at 2 p.m.