Beaufort County struggled defensively Sunday and fell 14-4 to Chester to fall into the losers' bracket in the Dixie Boys State Tournament at Burton Wells Park in Beaufort.
"I told them to just wash this one out," said Beaufort County coach Darrel Gruel, whose team faces Aiken at 5 p.m. today in an elimination game.
Beaufort County jumped on the board first when it manufactured a run in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Porter Mahan walked, stole second and third before scoring on a one-out RBI single by Connor Gruel.
But momentum shifted quickly in the top of the second.
Chester strung together a single, two outfield errors on dropped fly balls, two more singles, a walk and two sacrifice flies to plate five runs and take the lead for good.
"We had some defensive lapses in the second inning," Darrel Gruel said. "We limited the damage because we got a couple of sac flies, but they're dangerous. They make contact and they put the ball in play with consistency."
Chester added two in the third, a single run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a 10-1 lead.
Chester's Denver Mosely kept the Beaufort County bats at bay, striking out eight before leaving in the fifth.
"He had decent velocity," Darrel Gruel said. "But he kept the ball down and was pitching downhill. He did a good job."
It was in the fifth that Beaufort County came alive.
After a walk to Austin Saunders and a single to right by Chandler Parris put runners at first and third, Mahan squeezed in a run and was safe at first, knocking Mosely from the game at 92 pitches.
Mahan was erased on a ground ball up the middle by Aaron Brantley, but the throw to first was bad and another run scored, making it 10-3. Connor Gruel singled to put runners on first and second, and they both advanced on a sacrifice fly to right field.
The runners moved up again on a passed ball, scoring Brantley to make it 10-4.
But Mosely showed he could keep Beaufort County down from the field, as well. Ryan Lanning's grounder was stopped on a dive by Mosely, who proceeded to throw Lanning out at first from the seat of his pants to end the rally. Chester scored four more in the seventh to close the scoring.
According to coach Darrel Gruel, Connor Gruel is today's likely starting pitcher against Aiken.
The tournament winner advances to the Dixie Boys World Series in Covington, Ga.
Dixie Boys State Tournament
Through Thursday, Burton Wells Park, Beaufort
Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12. Children under 5 are free.
Today's games: Midland vs. Edisto, 5 p.m.; Westminster vs. Georgetown, 5 p.m.; Beaufort County vs. Aiken, 8 p.m.; Sumter vs.. Lexington, 8 p.m.