(At) Bishop England 2, Aynor 1: This year, the dog pile belonged to Bishop England.
Nearly 365 days after falling to Aynor in the Lower State 2A title game, a squeeze play in the bottom of the 14th on a bases-loaded bunt allowed Matthew McManus to score the winning run, sending the Battling Bishops to the Class 3A state championship series with a 2-1 win.
Six pitchers took part in the game, with Nick Fowler and Jason Duke shouldering the load on the mound for the Blue Jackets. Four hurlers saw time on the bump for Bishop England.
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Aynor struck first, a Walt Richardson base hit to left field bringing in Luke Martin. The Battling Bishops immediately struck back, a single by Geoffrey Gilbert allowing Chris Dengler to cross home plate.
Bishop England will now face Seneca in the Class 3A championship series, set to begin Saturday.
WP: Matthew McManus LP: Jason Duke. Hitters — AYN: Walt Richardson 3-for-6, RBI; Ridge Richardson 3-for-7; Holden Nobles 3-for-6. BE: Leo Albano 3-for-7; Matthew McManus 3-for-6, RBI.
(At) Dillon 11, Aynor 7: Twice this season, the Blue Jackets were able to muster up just enough runs to get past their old nemesis in Dillon.
On the night it mattered most, however, such an effort just wasn’t enough.
Aynor saw its dream of a state title end on familiar turf Wednesday, falling to the hated Wildcats in a high-scoring affair.
Seemingly in control with a 3-0 lead, the Blue Jackets saw Dillon rattle off 10 consecutive runs between the second and fifth innings. That would prove to be enough for the home side, which held off a late rally by their league foes to earn a return trip to Hanahan and the Class 3A Lower State championship.
WP: Tori Grimsley LP: Brooke Elliott. Hitters — AYN: Brooke Elliott 2-for-5, R, RBI; Katie Gunter 2-for-4, 2 RBI. DIL: Auh’Keria Smiling 3-for-5, 3B, R, RBI; Tori Grimsley 3-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI; Johnna Rogers 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI.