Airport Eagles Baseball will play for AAAA state title after besting South Aiken in second Upper Sta
Eagles overcome first-game fall to T-Breds to trounce South Aiken in second game of evening
Cayce, SC (James Bowers) - Airport baseball’s Tim Perry’s smile matched the distance between home planet and first base after his Eagles demolished the visiting South Aiken Thoroughbreds by an 11-4 count in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday evening. That game, which pitted the Diamond Eagles and their visitors from Aiken County, was necessitated by 5-1 South Aiken victory in the opening contest of the night. It should be noted that the Horses scored all five of their runs in the top of the first inning of game one as the Eagles did not allow the T-Breds to add to their count in the first game the Eagles lost Wednesday in front of their home crowd.
Perry credits the drastically different result in the second outing to another loss. When a playoff game becomes a doubleheader in South Carolina HS Baseball, a coin toss is conducted to determine the “home team” for the second game; The “visitors” bat first. Perry believes that his Diamond Eagles have an advantage when they hit to open a game. “I’ve never been happier to lose a coin toss,” Perry said. “When we hit first (in the Eagles’ regular season games against South Aiken) we’ve been very successful both times.” Indeed, the top of the first inning saw the Eagles produce two runs. First, Simms Jones came home on a Tyler Corbitt double, and later Corbitt himself scored after a Justin Allen ground-out gave him time to run home.
South Aiken’s side of the first inning proved unproductive. Airport received some gifts in the second inning when Cameron Beckham and Brad Burnham got on base thanks to being hit by a pitch and walked respectively. After the two Airport batters advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, an error by South Aiken third baseman Grant Stanford enabled Beckham and Burnham to score extending the Eagle lead to 4-0. The bottom of that inning saw South Aiken get on the board when William Griswold singled home teammates Corley Cheeks and Braydon Farmer. Not to be outdone Airport added to their lead in the top of the third when Tyler Corbitt got home on a Brandon Caughman single. Cameron Beckham sent Caughman across the plate to make it a 6-2 ballgame in the Diamond Eagles’ favor.
The Airport lead grew to 8-2 in the top of the fourth when Tyler Corbitt hit a home run that also allowed teammate Sam LaFrageto score. That count remained static until the seventh inning. A single by the Eagles’ Parker Whittle produced three runs after an error by Airport catcher Tucker Rabun. Down 11-2 in the bottom of the seventh, South Aiken did not quit, as a William Griswold double put Cody Boynton and Tyler Miller across home plate to cut the lead to 11-4. However, any hopes of a T-Bred comeback were dashed when Jesse Sanders struck out, followed by a flyout by A.J. Dieble.
The victorious Eagles swarmed the pitcher’s mound in celebration of their imminent appearance in the AAAA State Championship Series. The big showdown will be an all Lexington County affair; the Eagles will face another group of Eagles from Chapin High School in a Saturday home game to open the best two out of three final. Chapin will host the second game on May 15, and a third game would be played at a to be determined neutral site on May 19 if necessary. The victory was a watershed affair for the Eagles, who are looking to add another state title to their storied baseball history. “It feels good to be back in the state championship,” Perry said.“These kids deserve, they’re relentless workers and really selfless teammates. They’re tireless competitors.”
South Aiken’s season ends with a record of 14-12.