BRANCHVILLE – The Dorchester Academy Raiders captured their second SCISA Class A baseball championship in as many years, defeating Holly Hill Academy 4-3 on Saturday.
In a game that featured two first-year head coaches and a state championship rematch, Dorchester prevailed after scoring its only runs in the first inning.
The game was played at Branchville High School after both teams won at home, forcing a neutral-site game. The best-of-three series started Monday and finally finished Saturday after a series of rain delays.
DA head coach Josh Mitchum said he is “super proud” after his team completed the repeat.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve ever done it,” Mitchum said. “I’m super proud of these seniors.'
“We sent five seniors off with back-to-back state championships. That’s huge for our program,” Mitchum said.
“We had one of our players die in a car accident a couple of months ago, and we dedicated this season to him,” Mitchum said. “This is for him."
Mitchum referred to the death of right-fielder Joey Szorosy. Several of the DA players were wearing arm sleeves that stated: “Do it for Joey.”
Mitchum was especially impressed by the way the freshmen played in a huge game.
“We started two true freshmen today,” Mitchum said. “One of them gave us a two-out double in the first inning, which ended up being the winning runs,” Mitchum said of left-fielder Wyatt Judy.
“It’s a good feeling,” Mitchum said. “I told these guys that I didn’t know if we were the best coming into it, but we were going to work the hardest."
“To be the best you have to work the hardest, and I think that’s what we did,” Mitchum said. “I told these guys before this game there’s not a team in the state that has worked harder than us."
He said he told his team to “go out and take what you deserve.”
DA suffered its only loss against SCISA Class A competition the entire season in Friday’s game two of the series. Mitchum said that loss sums up his team.
“We’re resilient, we did what we had to do to win games,” Mitchum said. “Some of them were ugly, some of them were pretty, but we did what we had to do every game."
Holly Hill Academy head coach Josh Christian was positive despite the loss.
“I love them,” Christian said of his team and specifically the seniors.
“A lot of grit, a lot of determination, a lot of fight,” Christian said.
Christian said he is proud of the team for not quitting after facing an early deficit in the game. “It shows a lot of character."
The first inning saw the majority of the action.
DA hit first, starting off with a single by lead-off hitter Chase Way on the second pitch of the game. Singles by Rhett Mizzell and Lance Brownlee loaded the bases.
Wyatt Judy came to the plate. He hit a double to left field, unloading the bases. Judy then scored after a wild pitch by Holly Hill’s Josh Siau.
In the bottom of the first, HHA responded with some offense of its own.
Hanks Avinger reached first base on a walk. A sacrifice bunt by Even Boyd allowed Avinger to advance to second.
A throwing error by DA enabled Siau to reach first base and Avinger to advance to third. After a ground-out by Nick Strickland, another throwing error by DA allowed Avinger and Siau to cross home plate.
The last score of the game for both teams came in the fourth inning. After a single, Sam Montgomery eventually crossed home plate following another error by DA, a sacrifice bunt by Ben Singletary and a fielder's choice by Grayson Hopkins.
DA pitcher Chase Way got the win, pitching a complete game. He had four strikeouts and two walks while allowing six hits.
HHA pitcher Siau took the loss, also pitching a complete game. He had eight strikeouts and three walks while giving up seven hits.
DA stranded four runners on base while HHA stranded 12.
DA committed eight errors. HHA had none.