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Pee Dee Academy blanks Cavaliers 3-0 for second straight SCISA AA baseball title

Kingstree – As soon as Pee Dee Academy baseball coach Brian Davis pulled Timmy Felder, his No. 2 starter, from the mound on Tuesday he knew it wouldn’t be the senior’s last appearance.

“We knew exactly what we were doing for Game 3,” Davis said. “We were going right back to him. That’s a senior on the mound; he had a bad day, but we’ve got all the faith in the world in him.”

How does a three-hit, complete-game shutout in the deciding game of the SCISA AA state championship series sound for redemption?

Felder made sure his last outing for the Golden Eagles was a memorable one. He went the distance -- striking out eight including the side in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to help lead PDA to a 3-0 victory over Robert E. Lee Academy on Saturday at the Williamsburg Academy field.

With the win, Pee Dee took the best-of-three series 2-1 and claimed their second straight AA crown and second overall in team history. The Eagles also defeated REL in last year’s title series.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Davis, whose team finished the year 21-3. “It’s not a credit to me. It’s a credit to the team that I have. They’re a great group of guys. They’re phenomenal.”

Perhaps none more so than Felder. After facing just six batters in Game 2 and walking five, The PDA right-hander had five 1-2-3 innings on Saturday and walked just three. He allowed six baserunners total.

“I knew I had to push and I had to come back from that loss I had,” an emotional Felder said. “It meant all the world to me (to be handed the ball for Game 3). I had so many of my (teammates) text me and tell me they believed in me.”

Felder only had two innings of trouble. Back-to-back two-out hits from Jenkins McCullum and Nicholas Laney followed by a walk loaded the bases in the second inning, but he struck out the next batter to end the threat.

In the fifth, Bryce Barrett’s two-out single was sandwiched between two walks fill up the bags once again, but Felder induced a grounder to second to cap off another scoreless frame.

“I just came out aggressive,” Felder said. “I knew it was my last game. I knew what I had to do.”

The defense behind him played error-free ball as well and the offense came through with timely hits.

The Eagles took advantage of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the first inning on McKinley Smith’s sacrifice fly to go up 1-0. Pee Dee added another run in the fourth – this time taking advantage of a Cavaliers error by producing a two-out RBI single from Ryan Brewer.

The final insurance run came in the seventh with two outs as well. Smith came through with his second RBI of the game to put the Eagles up 3-0 heading into the last half inning.

Smith drove in Garrett McDaniels each time as the center fielder finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored for PDA.

“Biggest difference tonight is that we were able to move guys over into scoring position and then get a timely hit here and there to put up runs when we needed to,” Davis said. “Jumping on them early in that first inning I think was huge and set the tone.

“We just had more timely hits tonight.”

That was the biggest difference between Pee Dee and the Cavaliers, REL coach David Rankin said.

“We hit it at them a lot,” said Rankin, whose team finished the year 24-5. “We got runners in scoring position with two outs and didn’t get a hit. They got runners in scoring position and got the hits.”

It was tough to swallow after Cavs starter McCullum and reliever Gavin Melton combined to pitch seven strong innings. McCullum worked out of the bases-loaded jam in the first allowing just one run while Melton pitched the final 4 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs, one earned, on three hits.

“I thought Jenkins pitched really well as a freshman,” Rankin said. “He worked out of that jam and only gave up one run. He kept us in the game. Then Gavin came in and pitched well.

“I thought we played fine – they just beat us today.”

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