Blake Shirley was the winning pitcher in relief and singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning in Gilbert’s 3-2 win over visiting Mid-Carolina on Wednesday in the Class 2A District III baseball championship game.
The verdict closed out a 3-0 run to the program’s fifth district title in the last seven seasons. The streaking Indians, who have won 11 in a row, carry a 25-2 record into the Upper State tournament and Saturday’s first-round road game (3 p.m.) against District IV champ Palmetto.
Shirley drove in Mike Morrison with the title-clinching run, and 2.1 inning of hitless relief work after entering the game for starter Drew Moyer in the top of the sixth inning. Moyer allowed just two M-C hits in his 5.2 innings on the hill. Both Mid-Carolina runs were of the unearned variety.
Gilbert finished with 11 hits but had trouble getting the runners home. Jared Williams had three hits and one RBI, Taylor Leaphart had two hits and scored one runs and Morrison was 1-for-3 and scored twice.
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Williams had big numbers in district plays, going 5-for-7 with four walks, five runs scored and two RBIs. Connor Owings (4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI), Morrison (3-for-9, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR) and Leaphart (5-for-9, 3 R) were rather productive, as well.
Gilbert received complete-game wins from Austin LaBounty and Morrison in the first two games. LaBounty tossed a one-hit, six-inning shutout in the 10-0 win over Cheraw in the opener and Morrison allowed two hits in the 11-1 semifinal win against Mid-Carolina.