The Lewisville Lions knotted up the best-of-three Class A baseball state finals at a game a piece with Thursday's 12-1 win at Bamberg-Ehrhardt. The victory sets up a Game 3 showdown on Saturday.
The deciding game will be played on a neutral field, at Brookland-Cayce High School, at 7 p.m.
The Lions' Ken Green got things started with an RBI double that ignited a six-run second inning. Green has emerged as an offensive force in the series. He has six hits in the two games.
Chris Skidmore hit a three-run home run to cap the uprising and the Lions never looked back.
Lewisville had a lot more success against Bamberg-Ehrhardt's starting pitcher on Thursday than they had versus Randon Sandifer in Tuesday's series-opener. The Lions chased starter Mitch Whetstone with two outs in the second inning.
Logan Pemberton was the first batter to face reliever Chris Sweatman. He reached on an error when the throw to first base from the shortstop was high. Skidmore followed with his three-run jack over the 361-foot sign in left field.
Skidmore has been seeing a steady diet of curveballs in the postseason. He got a pitch he liked from Sweatman and drilled it.
"Finally, I saw a fastball," Skidmore said. "I came in today to do my best. I stunk it up in the first game. I made three or four errors and went 0-for-4. I think the whole team was jacked up tonight."
Lewisville coach Billy Keels said he would be surprised to see anyone except Sandifer pitch on Saturday. Sandifer is the Red Raiders ace.
Keels hopes to have Will Robbins ready to start on the mound. Robbins threw 105 pitches on Tuesday.
Pemberton pitched a six-inning complete game to pick up his 10th win of the season. He allowed five hits and struck out three batters.
"If you get Pemberton a lead, especially a seven-run lead, he's tough to beat," Keels said. We seemed a lot looser after six runs. Sometimes guys are more nervous playing at home than they are on the road. You'd think it would be opposite. Tuesday I think we got caught up in the moment. That didn't happen tonight."
Pemberton led off the fourth inning with a triple that tailed away from Red Raiders right fielder Will Medlin, who spun around and fell trying to field the liner. Pemberton scored on a base hit from Kody Kirkland and the Lions held a 7-0 lead.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt scored in its half of the fourth. Joe Crosby singled and eventually scored on a ground out by Brandon Whetstone.
The Red Raiders are no stranger to the state finals. They won their first state title in 1964.
They won eight consecutive Class AA championships from 1974-1981 and a total of 12 overall before dropping to Class A in 2002. Bamberg-Ehrhardt is the two-time defending champ.
Not that one would know it by the look of Game 2, not when Lewisville's No. 9 hitter, Green, went 4-for-4 with three RBIs. Green isn't a typical bottom of the order guy though.
Last year he hit in the meat of the Lions' lineup.
"I've been in a slump most of the year," Green said. "Coach put me down in the nine-hole to get some more fastballs. I'm starting to see the ball right now and getting hot."
Lewisville pounded out 16 hits and are now a win away from their first state championship since 1992.
The Lions strung together four straight singles in the sixth ininng. Joby Moss had an RBI and Green drove in two with a bases-loaded single to center field. A couple wild pitches brought two more runs across the plate as Lewisville scored five runs.
Logan Pemberton and Kody Kirkland. Mitch Whetstone, Chris Sweatman (2), Joe Crosby (6) and Crosby, Kevin Jones. WP -- Pemberton (10-3). LP -- Whetstone (6-2). 2B -- Ken Green (L), Will Medlin (B-E). 3B -- Pemberton (L). HR -- Chris Skidmore (L).