UNION – Caleb Taylor homered and pitched three strong innings, leading Clinton to a 7-3 victory over Hartsville and forcing a decisive game against that team for the Dixie Youth O-Zone (11-12 age group) Dixon Bracket championship on Wednesday at Timken Sports Complex.
The loss knocked Hartsville out of the unbeaten ranks and forced a winner-take-all game at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Clinton never trailed after scoring a run in the top of the second inning on Tanner Kyko’s run-scoring single.
Taylor gave up three hits and struck out five, allowing only an unearned run in the second.
Second baseman Zane McLendon broke the game open with a three-run homer in the sixth, giving Clinton a 7-1 advantage. Hartsville scored twice in the bottom half before Bryce Young came on in relief to nail down the victory.
Taylor, McLendon and Kyko led Clinton’s eight-hit attack with two hits each. Both of McLendon’s hits went for extra bases, as he ripped a two-out double in the first inning.
Clinton stole five bases, two by Kason Copeland. He was the only Clinton player to score twice.
The winner of the bracket will play a best-of-three series for the state championship in Moncks Corner, beginning on July 20.