Wednesday, April 24, 2013
By Chris Sokoloski
Those two words have not been used to describe Waccamaw High’s baseball team since 1999. And that year the Warriors were still a Class A school.
The 2013 Waccamaw squad beat Aynor last week to clinch the Region VIII-AA title.
“It’s something we’ve been striving for since I got here,” coach Jeff Gregory said. “It’s my eighth year here and we’ve had some talented teams and talented players and this region has always been talented for the last eight years. Tonight, we have a special group that figured it out.”
It was an emotional moment for the coaches, parents, supporters and players, especially the team’s four seniors – Kevin Kies, J.D. Whitlock, Jordan Hoeweler and Luke Freeman – who have grown up in the program.
“I’m never going to forget this,” Kies said.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Whitlock said. “I’ve never had a feeling like this. It’s something that I will never forget ever in my life.”
“It’s amazing,” Freeman said. “We’ve come so close every year.”
“It’s history,” Hoeweler said. “We’ve never done it at the AA level. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Many of the older players on the team have been playing together since they were little kids, and are very close on and off the field.
“Everyone loves each other,” said Kies. “Everyone is really close and we do everything together.”
“We’ve just come together since fall practice [and] through conditioning,” Hoeweler said. “All through region play we’ve just come closer and closer together.”
“We put in a lot of work in the off-season, two extra months in the weight room and it’s showing now,” Freeman said.
Aynor scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning of the championship game to take the lead, but Waccamaw rallied with seven in the bottom of the fourth to take a 7-4 lead. The Blue Jackets added a run in the top of the sixth.
“We have the most heart of any team I’ve seen at Waccamaw and we just won’t quit until it’s over,” Whitlock said.
“It’s a tribute to all the hard work we put in, all the hours, all the sweat,” Kies said
Curtis Lawing went 1-for-4 with two a run and two RBIs; Whitlock went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI; and Hoeweler went 1-for-2 with a run.
Justin Colegrove picked up his fourth win of the season, and Tucker Perry got the save.
Waccamaw hosts Kingstree on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in round one of the Class AA playoffs.
The Warriors and Jaguars are in the same bracket as Dillon and Lake City.
“I’m hoping that it ain’t over yet,” Gregory said. “It wasn’t pretty, and obviously we’ve got to be sharper for playoffs.”
The Warriors are 16-8 overall and finished 8-2 in the region.