Northwood Academy beat Hilton Head Christian twice during the regular season, but the visiting Eagles turned the tide on Monday night, taking a 5-4 win in eight innings for a 1-0 series lead in the best of three SCISA class AAA state championship series.
J.D. Reichel's bloop single over a drawn in infield scored Andy Proctor, who led off the eighth inning with a double just inside the third base bag.
Hilton Head Christian will try to win the state title on tonight at home.
Hilton Head Christian senior left-hander James Berl scattered seven hits and delivered two key strikeouts with Northwood threatening to take the lead.
"I felt it was very important that we get a lead early and try to stay ahead, especially against a good team on the road," coach Trevor Creeden said. "We never were behind in the game and that's key. We were able to remain confident and keep the game under control.
"(Berl) did a great job. He doesn't strike a lot of guys out but he throws a lot of strikes. They hit some balls hard but we were in position to make some plays. He's a senior and he really battled for us tonight."
Hilton Head Christian (21-9) struck for two runs in the top of the first off Northwood starter Brendan Holmes. Devin McGuinness' two-out RBI triple scored the first run and Wesley Cooler added an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
Northwood answered in the second. David Barnette singled and Seth Graham doubled to deep center. Each scored on groundouts by Chris Cook and Ryan Shipley to tie the score.
Cooler's infield single gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead in the third, and a double steal of second and home made the score 4-2.
Northwood threatened in the bottom of the third after Ty Powell's double put runners on second and third with no outs. Berl, however, pitched out of the jam as the Chargers failed to score with the middle of their lineup at the plate.
Graham homered to lead off the fourth to cut the lead to 4-3. Kalen Davis tied the game in the sixth with a two-out single down the right field line.
Lost in the defeat was a fine relief performance by Graham, who finished the first inning and went into the eighth, his longest pitching stint of the season.
"Seth gave us a chance to win and really pitched well," said Northwood coach Jerry Stoots. "We had our chances to score some runs and didn't get the big hit. That third inning really hurt us. You just can't win if you leave runners in scoring position, especially when you have them there with no outs."
Northwood (19-9) will start senior left-hander David Barnette (4-2) today, while Hilton Head Christian will counter with their ace, McGuinness.
Facing elimination last Thursday, Barnette delivered a complete game against Pinewood Prep.