PROSPERITY – The Mid-Carolina Rebels were feet away from extra innings baseball Saturday afternoon, about 10 feet, but junior Danton Hyman was caught in a run down as he attempted to score off a Justin Hawkins hit in the seventh.
An aggressive gamble on the base paths didn’t pay off for Coach Daniel Gregory. As The MCHS third base coach waived the runner to the plate, he challenged perhaps the strongest arm on the Ninety Six club. And it was Ninety Six’s night.
Gregory’s squad found themselves in a place they have seldom seen this season, trailing 5-0 heading into the sixth inning Saturday afternoon at Lindy Richardson Stadium. For much of the day the Ninety Six pitcher induced Rebels to swing at high pitches, which they fouled off, rather than squared up.
Momentum shifted in the sixth when Justin Hawkins hit a shot to put MCHS on the board.
Ryan Stoudemire tried to launch back-to-back jacks but instead he made a long, noisy out to center field near the warning track.
Mack Flemon picked MCHS up as he hit another moon shot home run to drive in two runs and cut the lead to 5-3.
From the fifth inning on, Hyman, who pitched a complete game for MCHS, was his typical bulldog self on the mound. Though Ninety Six peppered him with hits in the later innings, he made pitches from the stretch and did damage control to keep MCHS down five.
In the bottom of the seventh Chris Edwards tripled to set the table for MCHS.
With one out, Hyman battled at the plate from an 0-2 count and was hit by a pitch. Hyman advanced to second on a passed ball. The two baserunners set the stage for Flemon.
After Hyman was out at the plate, Ninety Six intentionally walked Stoudemire. With two outs, Shawn Sexton walked to move Stoudemire into scoring position. MCHS needed a clutch hit to tie the game.
Flemon could not get the clutch hit MCHS needed as he struck out to end the game.
MCHS plays the winner of Landrum/Liberty game Monday night in an elimination game at Lindy Richardson Field.