Chapin held the upper hand against Union County.
The Eagles were playing at home, and having come through the winners bracket to the Upper State championship, meant Union County needed to beat them twice to advance to the Class 3A state championship series.
The Yellow Jackets did just that with timely hitting and steady pitching.
Union County beat the Eagles 8-1 in the first game, then finished with an 8-0 victory to win the Upper State title on Monday night to return to the title series for the third straight year.
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“The girls, I credit them, they gave me everything they’ve got,” Chapin coach Jason Jolley said. “They’ve given me everything they had for 33 games now. It’s been an incredible run.”
The Yellow Jackets (31-2) play Hartsville, which defeated Hanahan twice for the Lower State title, in a best-of-3 series that begins Thursday.
The Eagles (24-9), who beat Union County 6-2 in the first round of the Upper State tournament, had little to stop the Yellow Jackets this time around.
“Things had been going right for us, we’d been making all the plays in the playoffs, we’d been getting all the key hits, getting ahead of batters,” Jolley said. “But tonight we had our pitchers run out of gas, started getting behind a little bit and we made some uncharacteristic errors on routine stuff – and nobody was able to get that key hit.”
In the first game, Union scored two runs in the first, a run in the fourth, and then blew the game open with a five-run sixth.
The Yellow Jackets chased Eagles starter Tracey Truesdale, who gave up four runs in five-plus innings.
Chapin’s only run came with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, as Hannah Davis scored on an infield single by Olivia Chapman.
Truesdale started for the Eagles again in the second game and held Union County scoreless for three innings before they struck hard in a six-run fourth inning.
Truesdale walked the first two batters, who then scored on a throwing error. Union County added four more runs on two hits and another Chapin error by the end of the fourth.
The Yellow Jackets picked up two more runs on three hits in the sixth.
Chapin’s season ended on a sour note, but Jolley was proud of how well the Eagles performed all season.
“We have dealt with injuries all year, and we finally found a lineup that worked,” Jolley said. “The kids responded and we started winning some games. More than any team I’ve had, this team has been more ‘We’ and less ‘Me.’ Nobody cared who got the credit. Everybody had each other’s back, everybody cheered for each other. They couldn’t care less about individual stuff that was going on. They just wanted to win ballgames, it didn’t matter how it had to happen.”
Union County 8, Chapin 1
WP: Bailey Betenbaugh. LP: Tracy Truesdale
Hitters: UC: Dexlie Inman 2-4, Katelyn Petty 2-4, Kendall Henderson 2-4.
Union County 8, Chapin 0
WP: Ashley Vinson. LP: Tracy Truesdale
Hitters: UC: Dexlie Inman 3-4.