In the wake of a 6-0 loss to Chesnee, Mid-Carolina came out swinging on Wednesday night at home against Palmetto. The result was a 12-5 win that sends the Rebels on to the Class 2A Upper State tournament final on Friday.
M-C needs two wins on the road against defending Upper State champion Chesnee to advance to the state championship series for the first time since 2007. Chesnee eliminated the Rebels from the playoffs at different points in 2008 and 2009. The Eagles have ace left-hander Brandon Henderson rest and ready to go. Henderson dominated the Rebels in Prosperity on Monday, allowing just three hits and striking out 16.
“We were really tight and didn’t do a good job of making (Henderson) work a little harder,” said M-C coach Hu Mills.
“Henderson has great stuff with a big fastball, a hard curve and a good changeup and he had it all going, but we didn’t help ourselves by trying too hard at the plate. We were really loose against Palmetto like we have been all season, and hopefully we’ll be the same way on Friday. It’s going to be a big challenge, but winning two games has been done before and that’s what we hope to do.”
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The final score in the rematch with Palmetto was a little deceiving. The Mustangs tied the score at 5-5 in the top of the fourth inning and had the bases loaded with one out when Mills lifted starter Nathan Smith in favor of C.J. Edwards. The junior right-hander doused the fire, getting out of the inning with a strikeout and a pop up in the infield. In the bottom of the fourth, Tevins Walker broke the tie with a two-run home run and the Rebels never looked back. Hubert Wicker’s three-run double was the highlight of a five-run burst in the sixth that set the final score.
Martez Gallman and Devin Holland also belted two-run homers in the do-or-die game. Walker finished with two hits in three at bats, scored four runs and drove in three.
Mills said he is undecided who will get the starting assignment on Friday, but it will likely be either Krishawn Holly or Edwards. Holley got the nod on Monday against Chesnee and was lifted in the fourth inning.