JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A big inning on offense and some gritty pitching performances highlighted Suwannee’s playoff win at Bishop Kenny on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs scored three runs in the third inning and rode the arms of Drew Law, Wyatt Morrill and Bo Bonds to a 4-2 victory against BKHS in a regional quarterfinal.
Law got the start and pitched 4 2-3 innings, surrendering two unearned runs. The junior left-hander gave up seven hits, but he was tough with runners on base and came up clutch in game-changing moments. Law gave up back-to-back hits to start the bottom of the third inning, but pitched out of the jam to help SHS maintain a 4-1 lead at the time.
In previous years, where there was only one game a week in the FHSAA playoffs, it would have been as easy decision to start Bonds, Suwannee’s ace, on the mound.
But under the new playoff format this season, with games closer together and teams not being able to ride one pitcher to the Final Four, Law got his opportunity and seized the moment.
“It was a big scene, first playoff game, being a junior on the mound,” said Law, who was notified on Monday that he would be starting. “I got the ball and I was very glad.
“It’s been a great ride and I don’t want it to stop.”
Law worked ahead of hitters, featuring a good curveball for a lot of first-pitch strikes, and allowed just one walk. After he exited, Suwannee went with some hard-throwing right-handers out of the bullpen.
Morrill came on in relief in the fifth inning with two runners on base and got a strikeout to end the inning.
Bonds earned the save by pitching the final 1 2-3 innings. He struck out two and retired all five batters he faced. By throwing just 18 pitches, Bonds will be eligible to start Suwannee’s regional semifinal at Bolles on Saturday.
“We knew we had to set ourselves up in this tournament to try and win,” said Suwannee coach Justin Bruce. “You hate going into a game trying to take a chance, but Drew has been a heck of a pitcher for us all season. We knew Drew was going to give us a good start. Wyatt to bridge the gap to Bo at the end was perfect.”
Morrill also came through at the plate with two singles and an RBI. He scored the first run of the game on Trett Wadford’s double to the gap in right-center field in the top of the second inning.
SHS plated three runs in the third inning courtesy of two walks, a hit batter and two singles. Josh Wharton made a key play in the inning with his hustle. With two outs and runners on second and third base, Wharton legged out an infield single that scored two runs.
They were crucial runs against Bishop Kenny (13-13) pitcher Colby Halter, who pitched well most of the game.
Catcher Kolby Pickles reached base twice for Suwannee. He had a single and a walk.
Suwannee (20-9) has won six of its last eight games heading into Saturday’s showdown at Bolles.
Bolles (25-2), which defeated Yulee in extra innings on Wednesday, is on a 16-game winning streak and defeated SHS twice in the regular season.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum going into the next game,” Bruce said. “We’re going to play a good team and we’re ready.”