HARTSVILLE, S.C. – It was talked about the opposite day, and the belief caught Tony Gainey off guard.
“There’s very few of my kids on the team now that’s actually been to the Southeastern Baseball Classic,” the Hartsville coach mentioned. “That kind of took me by surprise. It’s kind of old hat to the coaches because we’ve been through it so many times, but a lot of my players don’t know what it’s like.”
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the annual highschool baseball showcase to go on a two-year hiatus, however the premier occasion is about to return subsequent week – with a particular addition.
The event, which began in 1997, opens Monday at Jimmy White Park with video games slated to start Tuesday and final by way of Friday in a round-robin format. The abilities competitions, together with a house run derby, will once more be a part of Monday’s opening night time festivities, however event officers wished to do one thing particular to focus on the SBC’s return.
So for the primary time, the Ball Park Block Party will shut out the primary night. Scheduled from 7-10 p.m. outdoors Kelleytown Stadium, the free kick-off occasion will characteristic an array of meals vans and a free live performance that includes Carolina Beach Music Hall of Famers “too MUCH SyLviA.”
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“We wanted to come back bigger and better than before,” event director Bruce Douglas mentioned. “…We wanted to come back with a bang. Two years off, people might forget about you, and it’s during spring break week so we wanted to do something special for all of the players, teams and the community.
“It’s going to be a great time at The Jimmy.”
The competitors will possible as soon as once more be high-caliber as effectively. This yr’s area might be one of many deepest as a number of of the top-ranked groups from the state are slated to vie for the championship.
Region 6-4A foes Hartsville and South Florence are each within the prime 10 within the newest 4A rankings. The area additionally incorporates a pair of the highest 2A groups within the state in Buford and Andrew Jackson, who’s ranked No. 1 within the newest ballot.
Also from in state are 5A Sumter and Trinity Collegiate School, which is making its first look on the SBC.
As earlier than although, a number of powerhouse packages from out of state will probably be within the combine. Paul VI, a three-time champion, returns together with DeMatha and two Georgia Premier squads – Red and Blue.
“You bring in those elite programs that win year after year after year, and you know us South Carolina boys are going to compete,” Gainey mentioned of the energy of competitors. “It’s a great experience and a learning experience for the players as well as the coaches.
“You get to see old friends, new friends and just have an enjoyable week.”
And hopefully one the place the climate cooperates. Gainey and the Red Foxes are nonetheless in search of their first outright SBC title. Inclement climate prompted the 2019 event to be reduce quick and resulted in Hartsville and Georgia Premier sharing co-champion honors.
Georgia Premier has two groups competing this time round, and the Blue squad will face DeMatha within the opening recreation Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. The GP Red staff will then face Paul VI at midday adopted by South Florence vs. Sumter at 2:30 p.m., Trinity vs. Buford at 5 p.m. and the host Red Foxes taking up Andrew Jackson at 7:30 p.m.
Games are scheduled to run on the similar instances the remainder of the week, with Friday’s matchup being decided primarily based on the earlier days’ outcomes.