CCS forces third game, rain pushes it to Thursday

Two wild pitches in the fourth inning proved to be the difference Wednesday morning at Paterson Field, as Cornerstone Christian School forced a third and decisive game in the AISA Class 1A championship series. Game three was scheduled to begin at 12:25 p.m., but a decision was made two hours later to delay it until 10 a.m. Thursday because of rain.

In the second game of the series, Patrick Shaw reached base on a one-out error and advanced to second on the play to start the fourth inning for Cornerstone. After a Trey Benson single, Shaw scored on a wild pitch to give the Chargers a 4-0 lead. Benson scored in similar fashion to stretch the lead to five.

The Chargers put up three runs in the top of the second with RBI singles by Hagan Joiner and Lance Benton. Cory Woodall scored the third run of the inning on a balk by Abbeville’s Chip White.

Abbeville, who 10-run ruled the Chargers Tuesday, 14-4, found its offense in the bottom of the fourth, scoring two runs with one hit and one error. The Charger lead shrunk in the fifth with Gabe Newman scoring on an error at second base.

The Generals threatened in the bottom of the seventh after Cornerstone was unable to produce insurance runs in the fifth through seventh.

Josh Dunnaway, who went the distance on the mound for the Chargers, got out of the seventh with the help of two pop ups in foul territory caught by Shaw as he and Dunnaway collided both times. Shaw finished with 11 putouts and two assist in the game, gunning down one base runner.

“I know we’ve faced some good catchers this year, but I wouldn’t trade mine,” CCS head coach Tim Smith said. “He’s tough as nails, and when there’s a play to be made, he wants the baseball.”

Dunnaway got a called third strike with two runners on to end the game and force the third and final game.

Dunnaway finished with eight strikeouts, eight walks, six hits and three earned runs. White went the distance for Abbeville, striking out only three and allowing three earned runs of five scored. He gave up six hits and seven walks.

Offensively, CCS had six hits with no players getting more than one. That’s something that will have to change Thursday, Smith said.

“We haven’t hit the ball the way we did against South Choctaw or Coosa Valley. We haven’t done that yet, so hopefully tomorrow morning, we’ll come out swinging hot bats. We’re going to have to score in the morning,” Smith said.

Jacob Henderson is expected to get the start for CCS with the hope of pitching four innings, with Benton taking over in the fifth, Smith said.