Watch: USC baseball commits Cade Austin, RJ Dantin discuss their seasons
Austin, a junior at Chapin, and Dantin, a senior from Spartanburg, combined for 23 strikeouts in their matchup Wednesday in the SC Diamond Invitational at Blythewood High School. Austin picked up the win in Chapin’s 3-2 victory on the first day of the tournament.
“That was really awesome and he was really bringing it,” Dantin said of Austin. “It was a fun matchup. We hadn’t really met before and I told him it was a heck of a job pitching. He was on his game tonight.”
Gamecocks’ assistant coach Mike Current had a front-row seat behind the plate to watch the two future USC pitchers perform. Austin thinks it was one of his best performances of the season in the complete-game victory.
Austin allowed two runs on five hits and seemed to get stronger as the game went along, spotting his curveball better. His fastball wasn’t bad either and was clocked at 90 mph in the final inning as he struck out the side to finish things off.
“State championship (last year) I was 88 in last inning so I want to maintain my energy throughout the game. That’s helped a lot,” Austin said. “This year is probably the best I have ever thrown, not too many runs and not many walks.”
Austin is 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA with 55 strikeouts and just nine walks in 38 1/3 innings against some tough competition in Region 5-5A, which features River Bluff, Dutch Fork, Lexington and White Knoll.
Chapin, which won the Class 4A title last year, won the region title in its first year of Class 5A. The Eagles will look for its second straight title when the playoffs begin next week.
“It would be amazing,” Austin said of winning two in a row. “We got to keep bats going because our pitching is the most dominant thing about our team.”
For Dantin, there won’t be any postseason. Spartanburg missed the playoffs so Wednesday’s performance was the last of his high school career. He plans to enroll at USC in June. The left-hander said that was ‘difficult to process’ going in but it started to sink in late in the game.
Dantin was taken out of the game with two outs in the sixth because he reached his pitch count. All of his teammates came out of the dugout meet him.
Dantin allowed just one earned run on two hits while striking out 11 and walking four against Chapin.
“All four years of hard work and everything I faced in my baseball career. And realizing I have been blessed. It was a cool experience,” Dantin said of his thoughts leaving the mound for one final time. “I remember the most about the season is even though we didn’t have the success on the scoreboard the team always competed. We gave our all and could hold our heads high.”