The soupy humidity made sweat much more evident during Wednesday’s baseball game between South Carroll and Century.
Fans from both sides perspired as they fretted throughout the Class 2A West Region 1 semifinal, with a pair of county rivals battling for the second time this spring. Another one-run contest, and another close victory for the Knights.
Century lost an early four-run lead and fell behind late, but regained it in the sixth inning and held on for a 6-5 win that advanced the Knights to the Region 1 finals Friday.
Hunter Rose’s one-out single in the sixth — his third hit of the game — drove in the game-tying run, Adrian Auber scored the game-winner on an error, and Brody Comer pitched the Knights (8-2) out of the seventh despite the Cavaliers having the go-ahead run at the plate with one out.
Comer snagged a looping pop-up in front of the mound for the second out, then got Logan Miller, South Carroll’s No. 4 hitter, on a fly out to short to end it. Century edged South Carroll 5-4 when the teams met during the regular season.
SC’s Nick Malone and Brady Etzel each hit two-run home runs Wednesday, with Malone going deep in the fourth and Etzel in the fifth, to erase Century’s 4-0 lead. Justin Abell’s third hit of the day in the sixth, on an 0-2 pitch with two outs, drove in pinch-runner Noah Strzelczyk and put the Cavs ahead 5-4.
But the Knights responded in the sixth, and took advantage of two SC errors (the Cavaliers committed six in total). Comer led off by reaching on an error, and Rose came up with one out and two runners on before lacing a single to deep center.
Comer scored and Auber, who walked earlier, raced to third. Auber then scored on a throwing error when the Cavaliers (8-4) tried to catch Rose stealing second.
Co-Carroll County champion Century had five hits in the first and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. George Berbakos had a double while Rose, Matt Guyer, Kyle Grimsley, and Brayden McGraw each had singles.
Guyer started for the Knights and struck out five in six innings before giving way to Ethan Durburow, who was coming off a perfect game pitched last week. Durborow wasn’t as sharp Wednesday — he plunked two batters before Abell’s clutch single in the sixth, but stranded SC runners on second and third to end the frame.
Cavs pitcher Will Irwin came on in the second and held Century in check until the seventh. Irwin struck out five in relief of starter Ryder Chalk.
The Knights advance to face either Liberty or Glenelg in the regional final, with the winner of that game advancing to the state tournament next week.
South Carroll 000 221 0 — 5 5 6
Century 400 002 x — 6 9 2
SC-Ryder Chalk, Will Irwin (2) and Nick Malone; C-Matt Guyer, Ethan Durborow (6), Brody Comer (7) and R.J. Branch. 2B: C-George Berbakos. HR; SC-Malone, Brady Etzel.