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Dorchester Academy repeats as SCISA Class A baseball champions

Branchville – Needing one more out to secure a second straight SCISA Class A state baseball championship, Dorchester Academy junior pitcher Chase Way knelt behind the mound to collect his thoughts and his emotions.

One pitch later, Way was tossing a ground ball to first to end the game, securing a 4-3 win over rival Holly Hill Academy in the deciding game three of the championship series.

Dorchester won game one, 6-2, but lost game two on Friday night, 6-3, setting up the decisive game at Branchville High School. Way scattered four hits, striking out six, and overcoming six errors behind him. He finished the season unbeaten on the mound.

“I knew they would come around,” said Way of his defensive teammates. “They’ve been behind me all year so I had confidence we would be alright. I knew if I kept my composure we would win. I try to come through. I never was really worried about the outcome. I knew we would find a way to pull it out.”

Dorchester did all of their damage in the top of the first inning, scoring four runs on three hits. Way opened the game with an infield single and Rhett Mizzell followed with a single to left. The Raiders elected to sacrifice bunt with Lance Brownlee but Holly Hill’s throw to third for the force out was not in time.

Holly Hill pitcher Josh Siau got a strikeout but Wyatt Judy doubled to center to give Dorchester a 2-0 lead. A wild pitch and passed ball sent the score to 4-0 before Siau struck out the next two.

Siau was near flawless the rest of the game, retiring 12 straight hitters during one stretch and allowing just two singles over the final six innings. He finished with eight strikeouts.

Holly Hill answered with two runs in the bottom of the first without a hit. Two errors and a walk helped Holly Hill cut the lead to 4-2.

Holly Hill added a run in the fourth, again aided by two errors.

“I was disappointed with the mistakes defensively because I know how hard we work at it,” Dorchester Academy first-year head coach Josh Mitchum said. “We have some young guys out there in a few places and I knew they would be nervous. Our mistakes kept them in the game but as I told them, I would rather win ugly than lose pretty.”

Fortunately, Dorchester Academy had their ace on the mound.

“Two years in a row he has been the guy in game three so he’s a guy we trust a lot in this situation,” Mitchum said of Way. “He was good today, as he usually is. He pitched around our mistakes defensively and was really good in some pressure situations.”

Holly Hill’s rookie head coach Josh Christian will likely relive the first inning in his mind for weeks to come.

“Man, it was tough,” he said. “We had to battle from behind right from the start. We did some things you just can’t do against a team like Dorchester. We honestly felt three runs would win today. We thought we had a chance. We had chances in game one and today. We couldn’t get the clutch hit.”

Dorchester finishes the season at 19-2 overall, losing once during the regular season and once during the playoff run. The Raiders will again be the favorite in 2019.

“Our expectations didn’t change when I took over,” Mitchum said. “We have some older guys that continued to be our leaders for these young guys. We bring back six starters and 95 percent of our pitching next year so the expectations will be the same.”

Holly Hill was led offensively by Nick Strickland’s two singles. Way had two of Dorchester’s five hits.

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