Two errors by Georgetown in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Manning-Santee a three-game sweep of the first round of the Lower State American Legion state playoffs on July 15 with a close win at Monarch Field, 3-2.
With the game tied at two, Jamal Keels led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to center field. On a 1-2 count, Greg King struck out swinging. Georgetown pitcher Alex McElwee made a wild pickoff attempt on Keels that scooted past the first baseman allowing Keels to end up on third. The second error of the inning allowed the winning run to cross home plate. M-S catcher Douglas Ard hit a high pop up behind first base that Georgetown’s first baseman Patrick Ward dropped, allowing Keels to stroll in from third and giving M-S a sweep of the series.
Manning led off the scoring in the second inning. Shuler Ward reached first on a two-out walk. With a 1-2 count, Chris Kellahan hit the ball back to McElwee who walked toward first before attempting to flip the ball from his glove to the first baseman who dropped the ball. This allowed Kellahan to reach safely and Ward to end up on third. Mark Pipken stroked a single to left field scoring Ward.
Georgetown tied the game in the top of the third inning. Nick Gibbons walked Patrick Ward on a 3-2 count to start the inning, but Ward was later thrown out at second, 1-5. McElwee singled to right and moved to second on a fielder’s choice by Austin Smith. Richard Archer’s single to centerfield moved McElwee to third. McElwee scored on J.D. Whitlock’s single to right. Mason Brett ended the inning flying out to left.
Georgetown took the lead in the game in the sixth inning, 2-1. With two outs, Patrick Ward nailed a triple to right field. McElwee hit a hard grounder that hopped over the head of Greg King at third allowing Ward to score. Austin Smith struck out swinging to end the inning.
Gibbons shut Georgetown down after the sixth facing just six batters over the next two innings.
M-S tied the game in the bottom of the eighth. Kellahan led off with a standup double to left. Pipken moved him to third on a ground out, 4-3. Justin McArthur brought Kellahan home on a long fly ball to centerfield. Zach Graham followed with a single to left centerfield before Jack Martin ended the inning with a fly ball to centerfield.
Shuler Ward moved from right field to the pitcher’s mound in the top of the ninth to relieve Gibbons. Ward faced just three batters, striking out the side.
One hit and a couple of errors in the bottom of the ninth gave Post 68 the winning run and a three-game sweep in the first round of the Lower State American Legion playoffs.
Gibbons pitched eight innings with five strikeouts and just one walk. In the last inning, Ward threw 12 pitches striking out all three batters he faced, including a called strike three to close out the inning.
M-S began the second round of the Lower State American Legion playoffs at 7 p.m. July 17 against Goose Creek in Goose Creek. It’s a best of five series that will bring Post 68 back to Manning for game two at 7:30 p.m. July 18.