On Monday night, with an extra game in their pockets, the Laurens Raiders took care of business.
It took only a single 3-2 victory – the Raiders’ 2nd in a row over Fort Mill’s Catawba Ridge – to put Laurens (15-13) in the 4-team bracket that determines the Upstate Class 4A baseball champion.
Entering the postseason as Region 2’s 3rd seed, the Raiders dispensed with Westside once and the Copperheads twice. The going gets tougher, but the flying colors so far have been green, gold and black.
Laurens scored all 3 runs in the 2nd inning, and Catawba Ridge (22-8) scored both theirs in the 3rd.
With only a run to spare, Jackson Edwards passed every test, hurling a complete-game 5-hitter with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.
Only catcher Coleman Coker collected more than a hit for the Raiders. Designated hitter Bennett Edwards and center fielder Zay Pulley and both doubled in the pivotal 2nd inning. Bennett Edwards drove in the 1st run and Pulley the other 2.
Left fielder Trevor Testerman went 2-3 for the Copperheads and drove in both runs with a double.
Jackson Edwards retired the side in order in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings, but Jackson Mullen singled to lead off the 7th and Lane Boutwell bunted him into scoring position and Tyler Levy walked.
Laurens 2nd baseman Hunter Nabors then turned Jonathan Barschow’s grounder into a game-ending double play.
Jake McCoy, who also went the distance, took the loss for the Copperheads in spite of allowing just 4 hits and 5 walks, fanning 6 but yielding 3 earned runs.
The Raiders visit A.C. Flora on Thursday evening in Columbia.