Southern Lee to Face JH Rose in Eastern Final – Teams Begin 2 of 3 Series in Greenville Tuesday Night
By Austin Thomas
Austin Thomas is the voice of local High School baseball on WFJA Sports. He has followed the Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets all season long and will continue to follow the Cavaliers in the State Playoffs.
The Southern Lee Cavaliers (19-8) entered Friday night’s contest having already stamped their
names into the school’s history book. For the first time in program history, the Cavalier baseball
team had reached the fourth round of the state playoffs. On the road for the second straight game,
Coach Tommy Harrington and company found themselves face-to-face with the #2 seeded team
in the east, the Orange High Panthers (25-3).
A tight game through the first four innings, the Cavaliers held onto a 2-1 lead into the top of the
5th with the top of the order due up – and the offense broke out in a big way. Cooper Harrington
and Ashton Donathan went back-to-back with solo home runs to immediately extend Southern’s
lead to 4-1. Three more runs were tacked on in the frame, to give the Cavs a 7-1 lead, which they held
onto going into the bottom of the 7th. Cavalier pitching and defense held on, only giving up one
more run to the potent Panthers offense the rest of the way, bringing a final score of 7-2 in
With the final out on Friday night, Southern Lee officially punched their ticket to the Eastern
Finals, making them one of the final four 3A teams standing. Their next challenge, however,
may be their toughest to this point: the #1 seeded JH Rose Rampants out of Greenville.
To this point, every round of the state playoffs has been single elimination. However, both
regional and state final rounds are best-of-three. During Friday’s postgame show, Cavalier head
coach Tommy Harrington mentioned that he felt the three-game series format could be helpful for Southern Lee, given their strong 1-2-3 punch of a rotation – and the Cavalier hurlers will
need to bring their A game starting Tuesday.
JH Rose earned the #1 seed for good reason. The Rampants (24-3) have averaged over 10
runs per game this season, while allowing less than 3. Their explosive offense is led by Andrew
Wallen, a 6’7” Junior, who has smashed a 0.487 batting average this season, along with 8 home
runs. In fact, it was this monstrous offense that eliminated the Cavaliers last season from the
state playoffs, in the second round.
But the Cavaliers should not be dismissed. At this point, how could they be? Thus far in the
state playoffs, Southern Lee has outscored its opponents 33-14. They are winners in 8 of their
last 10, and 16 of their last 20. This is a team that, despite their 4-6 start to begin the season,
found their footing in the latter half of the year and are playing their best baseball to this point.
This week’s three game series will be a home-away-home format, based on the higher seed,
meaning that Southern Lee will travel to Greenville on Tuesday, be back home in Sanford on
Thursday, and then back to Greenville on Saturday if needed.
Game times have now been set and all games in the series will start at 6:00 pm. You can listen to all of
the action on WFJA 105.5 FM this week as the Cavaliers look to continue their historic run in the