Seventh-ranked Chapin rallied for eight runs in the top of the seventh inning to stun third-ranked, defending state champion A.C. Flora 12-9 Tuesday at Falcon Field.
A three-run home run by Barrett Charpia capped the dramatic rally in the last inning. The Falcons employed four pitchers in the seventh inning, seven overall, in an effort to beat its Region 4-3A archrival.
“It’s always an epic battle when we play each other – like two heavyweight championship fighters trading punches,” said Chapin coach Scott McLeod, whose team improved to 6-2 overall, 2-0 in region play.
There was also the element of irony. Flora, after all, ended the Eagles season last year with a walk-off grand slam in the Upper State playoff tournament’s final game on the same field and then went on tow sweep Fort Mill for the program’s third state title under Andy Hallett.
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Flora roughed up the Eagles top two pitchers – senior right-hander Brandon White and junior lefty Thomas Durant - but still did not muster enough production to prevail. Charpia, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, was the Chapin star – going 3-for-3 with one walk, two doubles, one homer, two runs scored and four RBI. He also handled five chances at shortstop without incident.
Matt Charpia, Barrett’s brother, also hit a home run for Chapin and drove in two runs. Kali Williams and Cole Powell also had two RBI apiece.
The third-ranked Falcons out-hit Chapin 13-8, but could not overcome eight free passes issued by the pitchers and two errors.
Schroder Carlton had two hits and three RBI for ACF. Jake Lewis and Madison Stokes had three hits apiece, while Everett Eynon and Austin Beskid had two safeties each. Beskid scored a game-high three runs.
The Falcons (3-2, 0-1) take on first-year Westwood at hopme on Friday and head to the Upstate on Saturday for a doubleheader at Mauldin, which is ranked No. 4 in Class 4A.
Chapin is in a busy stretch of the schedule – seven games in 11 games (March 11-22). The grind continues tonight (Wednesday) with a non-region game at Swansea and a Friday home region date with Lower Richland.
McLeod’s team is off to a fine start, considering it lost its entire infield to graduation, including five-year starting catcher Zach Haralambis.
The Eagles opened the season with a 3-1 showing at the RBI tournament at White Knoll, losing in the championship game to Sumter.
The Falcons also had a 3-1 tournament showing, but emerged as the winner at the IP Classic in Georgetown, overcoming a first-round loss to Greenville to win the Class 3A pool and nip Conway, which handed Lexington its first loss of the season, in the championship game, 6-5. Donald Gillespie had two doubles and two RBI in the title game. Brandon Cromer was the winning pitcher and Graham Chapman picked up a save.
Carlton, Stokes and Connor Desmond were named to the IPC all-tournament team. Chapman made the all-academic team and was the tournament scholarship winner.