PROSPERITY — Senior Josh Haney was three outs from seeing his Mid-Carolina High School baseball career end Monday night at Lindy Richardson Stadium. The Rebels trailed the Landrum Cardinals by three runs and the game appeared in doubt for the home team.
Haney would have none of it.
He gathered his teammates before the bottom of the seventh inning and rallied his club.
“I’m not ready to end my senior season tonight and I know none of the other seniors are ready to end theirs,” he said. “We have three outs to score three runs. I don’t want to tie the game, I want to win it. Get in the back of the box or choke up if you have to cause we aren’t giving up and we’re going to win this ballgame.”
It appeared Haney’s sentiment would be for naught as Hawkins hit a long fly ball to left field for out number one. Stoudemire flied out to deep right field, and the Rebels were down to their final out.
They had one out to get three runs, and Haney had faith.
Shawn Sexton singled and Mack Flemon hit a long fly ball to right field. The Rebels caught a break when the defender dropped the ball, keeping the inning alive.
With runners on second and third Haney singled up the middle to drive in Sexton and Flemon to tie game.
Ty Glymph pinch ran for Haney and stole second.
Landrum intentionally walked Crotwell to place the game — and the season — on the bat of senior Chris Edwards.
The brother of star Chicago Cubs prospect C.J. Edwards made a name for himself Monday night. Edwards battled at the plate, working a 3-2 count.
The game hinged on one pitch which Edwards hit right back up the middle.
The laser shot scored Glymph and the Rebels lived to fight another day, just as Haney predicted.
Ryan Stoudemire gave a gritty performance on the mound and kept the Rebels within striking distance. The sophomore right-hander pitched six and two thirds innings, striking out three and walking none. He gave up 10 hits but held Landrum to four runs.
With Stoudemire in a two-out jam with runners on second and third, Coach Daniel Gregory called on Justin Hawkins to move from shortstop to pitcher and record the final out of the inning.
The Rebels had the final at bat and used home field advantage to their advantage as they squared off in the elimination with the Landrum Cardinals.
The game was knotted at two until the seventh inning.
After stranding five men on base in the first and second innings, the Rebels took a 1-0 lead in the third when Justin Hawkins went yard over deep center field fence.
Ryan Stoudemire followed with a single to the right center field gap.
After Rhett Frazier, courtesy runner for Stoudemire, was tagged out on an attempted steal, Shawn Sexton, Mack Flemon and Haney walked to load the bases for catcher, Duncan Crotwell. Crotwell flied out to deep center field and Sexton tagged up, headed home, but he was thrown out by the center fielder.
Landrum tied the game in the fourth.
The Rebels responded in the fifth when lead off batter, Hawkins, walked. He moved to second on a ground out by Sexton and scored on a Flemon triple.
The Cardinals scored their second and tying run in the top of the sixth. Chris Edwards doubled in the bottom of the sixth, but was left stranded on base.
Once again the Cardinals came flying back adding two runs in the top of the seventh for a 4-2 lead.
That set the stage for Haney’s prediction and Edwards’ heroics.
Leading batters included Justin Hawkins (1-2 with a home run), Josh Haney (2-3) and Chris Edwards (2-3 with a double).
MCHS plays Wednesday at Ninety Six and the Rebels must beat Ninety Six twice to advance.
MCHS took two from Ninety Six in the regular season before dropping a one-run heartbreaker to them Saturday. First pitch is at 5 p.m.
If the Rebels win the first game, they will play a second, deciding game, at 7 p.m.