Irmo Baseball utilizes tough defense, “small ball” to top River Bluff in 3-2 home thriller
Win brings Jackets to 2-5 in 5-5A play, River Bluff now 6-4 in conference.
Columbia, SC (James Bowers) - The Irmo Yellow Jackets’ baseball program was once of the state’s finest, winning three SCHSL AAAA championships under the guidance of the legendary coach Strother Sligh. The bulk of the past two decades has not been as kind to the Irmo nine, but first-year head coach Bruce White is trying to bring the glory days back to Strother Sligh Field. Though there have been some painful losses this year, a Tuesday night game against River Bluff was a step in the right direction, as the Jackets took a 3-2 victory on a walk-off single by Luke Winslow in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The first three innings were scoreless. River Bluff got on the board first with a runner crossing the plate in the top of the fourth. The middle of the game saw the Jackets’ offense benefit from key hits off the bats of Winslow, Trent Polly, and Payne Disque. Effective bunting and a few line drives put Jacket runners on base and put Irmo in a position to take a 2-1 lead midway through the game.
Strong pitching from the arm of Polly allowed a few hits but largely kept the Gators from threatening until late in the game when a deep strike sent an River Bluff runner home to tie things at two. Unphased by this turn, Irmo kept its composure and did not allow another Gator to score, ending the game with the board showing Irmo 3, River Bluff 2. The River Bluff effort was led by outfielder Alex Urban, who had three hits and two RBIs. Urban is only a sophomore, but has already committed to play college baseball at Clemson.
Irmo gets back to action on Friday, this time facing the Gators on their home turf in Lexington. River Bluff will also play Sumter on the road this Thursday. The Gators are having a fine season overall, with a winning record in league play to go with a 13-6 overall mark. The Jackets will be out to prove that Tuesday’s victory was not just a fluke.