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Prep baseball: South Charleston finds a way to win despite batting woes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston is one of 22 state teams headed to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to compete in the Mingo Bay Classic.

The event, which features seven teams from the Kanawha Valley, begins on Tuesday.

The Black Eagles, who don't play until 5 p.m. Tuesday against Jamestown (N.Y.), are an interesting study in how to win without hitting the ball.

Coach Ken Samms' team is 3-3 through a half-dozen games, but doesn't have a hitter batting higher than .300 with more than six at-bats. Jared Hale has four hits in his first five at-bats for the Black Eagles, who have mustered only 17 runs in six games - fewer than three per game.

"Me and (assistant coach) Tommy (Riggan) talk about that all the time," said Samms before he and his team left for Myrtle Beach on Sunday. "We're young and a little overpowered right now."

The pitching has kept South Charleston in the chase behind senior Jerod Jobst. The younger brother of former Black Eagles star third baseman Joey Jobst is 2-0 with a 0.78 earned run average and 16 strikeouts in nine innings.

He has walked four batters, but opponents are hitting just .219 against him.

"I'd throw him against anybody ... I have to," Samms said. "His mound presence alone. You get a lot of trickery in first and third situations, stealing situations, bunting situations. When he's on the mound I don't worry about anything."

Two mysteries in the hitting department for South Charleston have been catcher Jonathan Cline - one of the area's top defensive catchers - and John Pauley.

Cline batted .384 last season, but has only five hits in 18 at-bats with two runs and two RBI. Pauley is hitting .176.

"Cline had a decent year last year and he's in a funk," Samms said. "And Pauley ... they're letting them get in their heads a little bit and you can't do that."

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THE MINGO BAY Classic is played on 11 fields in and around Myrtle Beach. George Washington is the first area team to play, facing Reagan (N.C.) at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

That's not necessarily a good thing, said GW Coach Chad Campbell said.

"It's not supposed to be that warm there," said Campbell, whose team is 6-1. "I don't think we'll be able to go to the beach."

Among the Patriots' opponents in pool play is Horseheads, N.Y. The Blue Raiders' ace is Dylan Manwaring, the son of former San Francisco Giants' star Kirt Manwaring.

Dylan Manwaring is headed to Wake Forest, the school that recruited former Hurricane High School star Sam Kmiec, who eventually transferred to Winthrop.

*  *  *

THE MAN behind the Mingo Bay madness is former Buffalo High School and West Virginia State player Tim Christy, which explains the connection with the Kanawha Valley.

The tournament features pool play through Thursday with bracket play set for Friday and Saturday.

The Valley teams competing are Buffalo, Capital, Charleston Catholic, George Washington, Hurricane, St. Albans and South Charleston. The other 15 state teams are Bluefield, Hampshire, Hedgesville, Jefferson, Liberty (Raleigh), Logan, Martinsburg, Musselman, PikeView, Point Pleasant, Princeton, Robert C. Byrd, Shady Spring, Sherman and Washington,

Games played at Myrtle Beach High School can be watched live on www.beachbaseball.org. Go to the website and follow the link to ustream.

Also, scores will be updated on Facebook. Search for Mingo Bay Classic.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.


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