Augusta Christian Schools' baseball team took another big step toward defending its two-time SCISA state championship status last week by claiming a Region 2-AAA championship.
The Lions finished regular-season play in a tie for first place in the region with Ben Lippen. Both teams completed the year with two region losses and were forced to meet for a one-game playoff Thursday to see who would win the title.
Playing at a neutral site, Lexington High School in Lexington, S.C., Augusta Christian edged out Ben Lippen, 4-3.
The game entered the final inning in a 3-3 tie, but Lions junior Tyler Bourdo reached second base with a double. Senior Josh Whitaker was intentionally walked, and Andy House was sent to plate as a pinch hitter.
House popped a bunt to the third baseman, who tried to double up Whitaker at first base. The throw to first sailed into right field, and Bourdo scored the game-winning run from second base.
The region title is another milestone for a young Lions team that lost 11 seniors from last year's state championship squad. Augusta Christian baseball coach Craig Johnson said Ben Lippen returned all but one senior this season.
"I'm real proud of this group for being able to do what they did in the region this year," Johnson said. "We're young and other teams in the region aren't."
The win meant more than just a region trophy. The Lions earned an extra rest period as they enter the SCISA Class AAA state tournament.
"That gave us the region, but it also gave us a bye in the first round of the state tournament," Johnson said. "The first round is on Tuesday but we'll get a bye and play in the second round on Friday."
The Lions have a home series in the second round against the first-round winner of Robert E. Lee vs. First Baptist.
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