Bishop England won Game 2 of the Class AA State Championship Series with a 3-1 victory over Chesnee on Wednesday night in front of a standing room only crowd of about 1,000 fans at Father Kelly Field.
But the victory probably came with at huge price. Tradd Lowman, who was scheduled to pitch Game 3, was hit in the face by a throw when he was running the bases in the bottom of the third inning.
It appeared the throw struck Lowman in the nose or around the eye socket. He left the game and was taken to the hospital.
“I’m sure he had a concussion,” Bishop England coach Mike Darnell said, whose team’s bid for its sixth state championship in 11 years remained alive. “I didn’t want to see a players’ high school career end that way. I am going to call his father and see what hospital they took him to. We’ll just cross our fingers and say some extra prayers tonight.”
Game 3 will be played Friday at 7 p.m. at Chapin High School. Bishop England will be the home team.
Patrick Clarey, who gave up six hits in a 2-1 loss to Chesnee (25-6) in Game 1, will get the call in the deciding game.
Darnell played a hunch and went with left-hander Ryan Rogers instead of Lowman on Wednesday. Rogers’ only previous playoff action was two innings of shutout ball in the Lower State against Loris.
The left-hander was sharp, allowing only four hits while striking out five. He retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced, and the Eagles’ only run was unearned.
The Eagles had runners on first and third with no outs in the third with their Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters coming up. But Rogers gave up only one run.
Darnell said Rogers had an up-and-down season and hit the bottom of the barrel after an outing against West Ashley. But he was a rock Wednesday.
The Bishops (23-5), who collected only four hits off Jimmy Yelton, scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the second when they sent eight men to the plate. Jonathan Browning plated two runs with a single up the middle, while Reed Fosberry grounded a single to right for the other run.
“Like I told (Chesnee coach) Scott (Wease), we ought to cut to the (chase) and play only one inning,” Darnell said. “We scored all of our runs in one inning, and they scored both of their runs in one inning in the first game. We’ve been very evenly matched. We’ve played two games in three hours. That’s good for the fans. We hit when we need to, but not too often.”
This year’s state championship series is a rematch of 2009 series, when the Bishops swept the Eagles to win the crown. The Bishops’ success in the odd calendar years has been well documented. The Bishops have won state titles in 2003, ’05, ’07, ’09 and ’11.
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @PandCPhil.