The cold bats at Mauldin High Monday night had less to do with temperatures in the mid-40s and more to do with fastballs in the low-90s.
The Mavericks’ Cory Thompson overcame early control issues to outduel Wade Hampton’s Tyler Thornton in a 3-1 win in each team’s season and Region II-AAAA opener.
“It was a good night,” said Mauldin coach Jim Maciejewski. ” Thornton has a heck of an arm. We put up seven hits. That’s not what I was expecting.”
Thompson, who’s committed to the University of South Carolina, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He had five walks and four strikeouts. Brandon Justice came on in relief and worked two hitless innings for the save. Justice had three walks and four strikeouts.
Thornton, who’s signed with the College of Charleston, gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings. Of those seven hits, three were infield singles and one was a bad-hop single to short. Thornton had one intentional walk and eight strikeouts.
“Tyler set at 92 (miles per hour), and hit 93 a couple of times. He gives us an opportunity to win every time we take the field,” said Wade Hampton coach Austin Lynch. “We just didn’t get the job done offensively. We saw a good pitcher, who was throwing 92 and 93 as well. It’s tough to get that timing down this early in the year.”
Both starting pitchers also helped their causes at the plate.
After Thompson escaped a top of the first when he walked three batters, he singled up the middle with one out in the bottom of the inning and later went to second on a wild pitch. Ramon Osuna, who’s committed to Charleston, lined a single to left to score Thompson.
Of the Generals’ three hits, only one left the infield, and it also left the ballpark. Thornton blasted the first pitch of the fourth inning the opposite way over the fence in left to tie the game 1-1.
The Mavericks answered in the fifth.
Kyle Scott was hit by a pitch with one out before Thompson laced a double to left. After Osuna was intentionally walked to load the bases, Scott came home on a wild pitch. Justice then grounded out to second, scoring Thompson.
Justice struck out Wade Hampton’s first two batters in the seventh before a walk to Ridge Chapman brought USC commitment K.J. Bryant to the plate. Justice got Bryant to fly out to centerfield to end the game, leaving Thornton – who walked in his other two plate appearances – on deck.
In addition to the pitching, the game was a defensive gem as the teams combined for just one error and a few great catches in the outfield.
Wade Hampton leftfielder Justin Grabowski made a running catch at the fence in the second and a diving catch in the third, while Scott, playing center for Mauldin, made sliding catches in the third and fifth innings.
“We were expecting a low-scoring game with Cory and (Thornton) going,” said Maciejewski. “We can’t be more excited and happier that we played as well as we did on opening night.”