CHESNEE — Four straight innings and Chesnee couldn’t break through with the big it. It didn’t matter, though, with Austin Brown on the mound.
Brown came through in the clutch, pitching a complete game three-hitter in a 2-1 Chesnee win over Latta in Game 2 of the 2A state baseball championship series on Thursday. The deciding Game 3 will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Lexington County Stadium in Columbia.
Brown struck out one batter in every inning and allowed only two runners on base once.
“He was in command the whole game and never got flustered,” Chesnee coach Scott Wease said. “I can’t say enough good things about A.B. He was our guy today and gave us exactly what we needed.
“We could have come in here with our heads down after losing Game 1, but we didn’t and I’m proud of our guys.”
Nate Lamb was 3-for-3 and drove in both of Chesnee’s runs with RBI singles. Dawson Williamson and Nolan Hammett also had three hits each. But Brown didn’t need much offense after the first inning, getting to a 3-ball count just once, his only walk of the game.
“I just tried to throw strikes, make them put the ball in play. That’s what I’ve been doing all year is letting my defense work behind me,” Brown said.
Bo Walker had a great diving catch in foul territory in the second inning for Chesnee, and Williamson made a key running over-the-shoulder catch in the fourth in left field.
The Vikings got one in the first when Dylan Brewer drove a pitch into the gap in left center for a double, moved to third on an error, and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0.
Chesnee answered in the bottom half of the first on an RBI single by Lamb, who drove in another run in the third to make it 2-1. Four straight innings, starting in the third, Chesnee loaded the bases, but the Eagles couldn’t drive in another run.
“We had runners out there, we just never could get the big hit when we needed it,” Wease said.
Chesnee totaled 10 hits, three in the infield, and the Vikings made four errors.
“I feel like we made a lot of mistakes defensively, set back on ground balls and let them play us,” Latta coach Don Cribb said. “But our pitcher pitched out of a few jams. We made some good plays to get us out of some bad messes, but I give Chesnee credit. They hit-and-run on us about three times early in the game and executed well and good teams do that.”