A Red-out tonight - BHP wins
Update: BHP defeats Clinton, 2-0, in game one of double elimination tournament. Clinton (23-2) plays at Seneca Wednesday night.
Seneca lost to Wren, 9-2, to fall into the losers bracket with Clinton, BHP and Wren move into the winners bracket, also to play Wednesday night.
Previous: Red Devil fans are asked to, "Wear Red Tonight," for the 23-1 Clinton varsity baseball home game against Belton-Honea Path. First pitch is 7 pm at The Sponge (behind Clinton Middle School on North Adair St.) Admission is $5 and only SC High School League passes are honored.
Clinton is 1 of 4 District Champions - following a 7-6 win Friday over AC Flora - competing to advance in the AAA Upper State Championship. Seneca and Wren join BHP and Clinton in the playoff. Upper and Lower State District Champions also will have games Wednesday, Friday (losers bracket game) and Monday, May 16. Upper and Lower State Champions will play May 19, Lower State home; May 21, Upper State home; and May 23, if necessary. The District and State Championships are double-elimination tournaments.
This is how Clinton won the District 1 Championship:
Aaron Copeland slid under a late tag by the catcher at home in the bottom of the sixth inning to score Clinton’s winning run in a 7-6 home victory Friday over AC Flora.
The win, Clinton’s 23rd of the season, secured the Red Devils first District Championship in AAA Upper State Baseball since 1994.
Tristan Smaltz was the winning pitcher, with seventh inning relief by Copeland. Red Devil senior catcher Chandler Todd ended the game when he threw out Flora’s Lake Botkin trying to steal third. That would have been the game-tying running, and the Falcons had the go-ahead runner on first base.
Flora first baseman Will Holstein committed the game’s only error, and that allowed Copeland to score the winning run. Brayden Gibbs knocked in Taylor Bailey with the game-tying run, after Flora put six runs on the board against Smaltz, five of the runs were earned.
Clinton trailed 4-0 after two innings. Bailey cleared the bases with a double in the bottom of the second. Clinton tied the game on a Smaltz squeeze bunt in the third.
Flora (16-11) scored two more runs in the top of the fourth. Leadoff hitter Josh Hernandez smacked a triple, his third hit of the game, to plate the two runs. Charlie Craven’s sac fly got Clinton back to within one run in the fifth.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, singles by Bailey, Copeland and Gibbs, along with the Flora error, produced the Red Devils game-winning runs.
After a seventh inning, one out walk, Smaltz (five walks, six strikeouts) was replaced on the mound by Copeland, who earned the save, his second of the playoffs. Copeland surrendered a single and struck out a batter, before Todd’s throw to third ended the game.
Both teams got eight hits in the Clinton win.
The Friday win advanced Clinton to Monday’s AAA Upper State Playoffs opener. The Red Devils hosted, by virtue of their one-loss record and region championship, Belton-Honea Path, a 1-0 winner over Camden to earn their district title. Seneca and Wren also are playing for a spot in the Upper State Championship game.