It’s never over, till it’s over.
Dillon again learned this cruel reality … and worse, the lesson was taught by a familiar foe.
Aynor scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh on Tuesday night to claim a 3-2 win over the rival Wildcats.
In addition to grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat, the Blue Jackets earned the outright Region VIII-AA title, its first league crown since 2006.
“I can’t say enough, it’s all about this team’s character,” said Aynor baseball coach Chad Sarvis. “You’re down 2-0 going into the last inning, your kids score three runs in the last inning against a quality club and a great pitcher. I can’t say enough about this team and how they fight.”
Earlier this season, Aynor used a late rally on the road to get past Dillon. As fate would have it, it would take similar heroics for the Blue Jackets to do the same on its home turf.
Dominant for six innings, the tenor of Austin Moody’s night on the mound would change in the seventh.
Despite striking out Ridge Richardson to start the inning, a passed ball on strike three allowed him to reach base. A few pitches later, pinch-runner Seth Hucks would swipe second.
The rally continued when Walt Richardson reached base on an error by the Dillon shortstop. On the next pitch, Austin Huck’s bunt single would load the bases.
Given the opportunity to make quite the imprint on his team’s season, senior leader Ian Prosser’s double to center field brought in two to tie the game.
“I was just looking for something to get to the outfield, and help my team the best I could,” Prosser said.
Following an intentional walk and a fielder’s choice in which Austin Hucks was thrown out at home plate, a Jason Dukes single to left field put a cap on a miraculous comeback.
“I’m just happy for these kids,” Sarvis said. “We tell them just to worry about one game at a time, and let the chips fall as they may. They’ve bought into that approach and thus far accomplished one of our goals … but we also know we’re not finished yet.”
Though already having wrapped up a region title, the Blue Jackets also have their eyes set on putting a bow on a perfect run through Region VIII-AA. To do so, it must knock off a solid Waccamaw team that as of late is playing its best baseball of the season.
“(Waccamaw) is a good team, and will be a tough challenge but we are welcome it,” Sarvis said. “But we’re also going to enjoy this win against a quality opponent. This was a hard-fought, hard-earned win by our kids.”
▪ W: Ridge Richardson. L: Austin Moody. Top hitters: Dillon: Moody 2-3; Billy McGirt 1-3; Wilson Ladarious 1-4. Aynor: Ian Prosser 2-2; Jason Dukes 1-2; Austin Hucks 1-3.
▪ Records: Aynor 13-3 (9-0 Region VIII-AA).