Red Devils edge Union Co. in 3A Upper State; Raiders set to host Eagles
Clinton needed every run it could muster in its 7-6 playoff victory Thursday at Union County.
With the victory, the Red Devils advance in the winners’ bracket of the Class 3A Upper State round and will host Seneca at 2 p.m. Saturday. Seneca defeated Belton-Honea Path 3-1 Thursday.
But getting there by beating Region 4-3A foe for the third time this season was not easy.
The Red Devils carried a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning thanks to two Union miscues. Pinch-runner Tanner Kyko stole third and scored in an error by third baseman Mason Small that also moved Justin Copeland to third.
Small went to the mound in relief of Union starter Tanner Hardin and balked to score Copeland before recording the final out of the inning. Hardin pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits, striking out six and walking four.
Those two insurance runs proved pivotal for the Red Devils (22-3).
Winning pitcher Caleb Taylor, who came to the mound in relief of starter Wil Stewart in the fourth inning, recorded the first two outs of the seventh, but also hit the lead-off batter and walked another to bring the game-winning run to the plate.
Copeland, who went 3-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI, came to the mound in relief of Taylor and induced a routine pop fly by Union’s M.J. Porter, but the ball popped out of the glove the normally sure-handed Wilson Wages two score two unearned runs.
Despite the miscue, Copeland recovered to strike out Nick Queen to end the game and secure the save.
Zach Fortman went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI, and Zane McLendon went 1-for-3 and drove in two runs for Clinton.
Raiders, Eagle playing for district title
Laurens is set to host Greenwood for the Class 4A District 1 championship at 6:30 p.m. today (Friday) at Ed Prescott Field.
Greenwood advanced to the district finals with a 4-1 win over North Augusta Wednesday.
The Raiders will advance to the Class 4A Upper State championship round with a victory Friday. A Greenwood win will force a second game in the double-elimination district bracket on Saturday.