SPARTANBURG — This was one time getting hit by a pitch didn’t hurt.
With the bases loaded in a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2, Dorman batter Grayland Fowler took one for the team to lift the Cavaliers to a 1-0 walk-off home victory against Spring Valley, capturing the District II championship in the 4A playoffs on Wednesday night.
Dorman advances to the Upper State championship round and will travel to Wade Hampton on Saturday.
Spring Valley forced a decisive second game after taking the first contest, 4-1. Ben Taylor picked up the win on the mound in a complete-game effort, striking out three. The Vikings scored two in the first and added single runs in the second and seventh while holding Dorman to an unearned run.
The Cavaliers were hitless through six innings of the second game and had 16 straight batters retired. However, Adam Renwick broke through with a leadoff single in the seventh. Matt Mayes followed with a walk before Wes Hallberg’s bunt single brought up Fowler.
“I was thinking I was going to get a hit,” Fowler said. “I didn’t think he was going to throw me a curveball with a 2-2 count, but I was glad to get the game-winning run in. I struggled the whole day and just glad I came through when my team needed me. It looked like it was going to hit me, so I just braced for it.”
The hit batsman spoiled a masterful pitching performance by Spring Valley starter Eric Laughead, who tossed a complete game and gave up the run on two hits with a strikeout.
“It’s just a matter of battling,” Dorman coach Matthew West said. “Their kids did a great job of pitching today. Taylor and (Laughead) kept us off balanced, and we never made good contact. Sometimes you win ugly; sometimes you win pretty. We’ll take an ugly win just as good as any.”
Not to be outdone was Dorman ace Collin Morris, who picked up the complete-game win. He surrendered two hits and struck out five.
“It was the same story and a different day,” Morris said. “It’s been the story of the season. Our pitching and defense has got it done, and our hitting has been there when we needed it. I had this same chance last year, and we lost. I wanted this game, and I’m glad we got it done.”
Xavier Boles recorded a double, and Taylor ripped a base hit for the Vikings in the second game. They twice left runners in scoring position.
“Ben Taylor came out Game 1 and threw strikes and gave us a chance to win. That’s what he’s done for us all year,” Spring Valley coach Collin Liggett said. “Game 2, Eric came out and did an outstanding job and did what he had to do to give us a chance to win that ballgame. We definitely have something to build on and look forward to the future.”