ROCK HILL — The South Pointe Stallions don’t expect to win slugfests. So they usually do it a run at a time.
That’s all they needed on Monday evening to beat the Clinton Red Devils 1-0 in an elimination game in the Class AAA Upper State baseball playoffs at South Pointe.
Wade Hopper and Jacob Midkiff combined for a two-hit shutout and Jacob Carrington tripled in the second to set up the game’s only run as the Stallions (19-7) kept their best baseball season in history going.
They’ll meet Fort Mill in a regional final game at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Fort Mill.
South Pointe hasn’t beaten the Stallions in three tries so far this season, including a 6-4 loss in the regionals on Saturday.
“The third time wasn’t the charm, so we’re hoping the fourth or fifth time might be,” Stallions coach Jason Terry said.
In Monday night’s game, history did repeat itself as the Stallions took their second close playoff victory over Clinton (14-10) in five days. They downed the Red Devils 3-1 in a rain-shortened game on Thursday.
“We knew they’d be tough again,” Terry said. “These games put pressure on your pitchers, but our guys responded.”
Hopper allowed just two singles by the Red Devils, but needed seventh inning relief help from Midkiff after walking leadoff batter Bradley Templeton. They outdueled Clinton left-handed starter Morgan Summers, who pitched a four-hitter over six innings.
“We’re not known for hitting home runs, so we have to get the small stuff done,” Terry said.
Hopper pitched out of what passed for a tight spot on this night, leaving Red Devils baserunners stranded on first and second in the first after Corey O’Shields led off the game with a single and Dalton Foster was hit by a pitch.
The biggest hit of the game, Jacob Carrington’s one-out triple to the wall in left center field, set up the game’s only run in the South Pointe second. Chance Montgomery followed with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Stallions got only two more hits, a single by Troy Rawls in the second and Ian Hinson’s double in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Hopper retired 11 straight Red Devils batters after the first inning jam and didn’t allow a runner past second base.
“He pitched a great game,” Terry said. “He was able to locate his fast ball and there were two or three times where he threw a curve ball for outs on a full count. He was aggressive when he needed to be.”