UNION – Hartsville National scored a run in the top of the seventh inning, and Clinton left runners on second and third base in the bottom half, enabling Hartsville to advance to the Dixie Youth O-Zone (11-12 age group) state finals with a 6-5, extra-inning victory on Wednesday afternoon at Timken Athletic Complex.
Clinton had forced a decisive game earlier in the morning with a 7-3 victory.
Hartsville will play a best-of-three series to determine the state championship in Moncks Corner, beginning on July 20.
Clinton led, 5-3, after four innings, but Hartsville came back with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Shortstop Caleb Taylor led Clinton’s 10-hit attack with three singles in as many trips to the plate.
Pitcher Jy Leake collected two hits.
One the mound, Leake gave up five hits and three runs in four innings. The second of three Clinton pitchers, Zane McLendon, took the loss.
Hartsville outhit Clinton, 11-10. Two Hartsville pitchers combined to strike out 11 Clinton batters.
The game ended controversially. With two out, Clinton had the tying run third base and winning run on second. Jy Leake fouled off four consecutive pitches and, on a 2-2 count, the pitch hit him in the back of the leg. Leake trotted to first, but the plate umpire ruled that Leake had not attempted to avoid the pitch, an odd call given where the pitch had hit him.
Leake then struck out to end the game.