Kevin Hickey thought there was maybe one more rally in this Hilton Head High team, perhaps one more night of magic that would end in another celebration pileup for him and his teammates.
Cole Norwood left no room for those late-inning dramatics. Darlington's right-handed pitcher went the distance in a 6-3 victory at Hilton Head High on Monday night, ending the Seahawks' season in the Class 3-A Lower State tournament.
The Falcons will travel to face A.C. Flora on Wednesday in another elimination game. St. James will await that game's winner Friday.
"I didn't know much about them cause we ain't from around here," Norwood said. "But I'd heard they're pretty good, so I knew I'd need my best stuff."
He had it.
With the exception of a two-run hiccup in the bottom of the fourth, Norwood kept the Seahawks off-balance with a steady mix of fastballs on the inside half of the plate to go along with a developing cutter. He allowed only five hits while striking out eight in his 111-pitch, seven-inning performance.
Seahawks ace Cameron Stoltz matched him pitch-for-pitch through the first three innings, in which both starters faced the minimum. But Darlington (23-5) adjusted the second time through the order, scoring three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to hand Stoltz just his second loss of the year.
The Falcons top three hitters -- Archie Dixon, Shaq Delane and Cam McCrae -- reached base safely a combined six times in the two innings and scored five of the six runs. Dixon finished the night 4 for 4.
Hilton Head High (20-10) threatened to tie the game in bottom of the fourth when Hickey laced a double to the gap in left center field that scored two runs with no outs, but the Seahawks stranded him at third in what proved to be their last threat to close the gap.
"I thought we needed to get that guy in to tie it up," Seahawks coach Chris Wells said. "There were some runners out there, but (Norwood) pitched his ways out of jams and pitched well with the lead."
He was the first pitcher to keep the Seahawks' bats silent in the latter innings of a postseason game. Desmond Bush had the only multi-hit game for Hilton Head High and was the only batter to reach base in the bottom of the seventh.
The Seahawks advanced to the Lower State tournament for the first time since reaching the Class 3-A state finals in 2007, and they finished the season winning 12 of their last 16 games.
"I thought we achieved a lot, and we had a lot of fun along the way," Wells said. "... We were playing our best brand of baseball at the end of the year, and that was a reflection of (our) nine seniors and their contributions."
Darlington 6, Hilton Head High 3
D 000 330 0 -- 6 10 2
HHH 000 201 0 -- 3 5 1
WP: Cole Norwood 7 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 8 K.
LP: Cameron Stoltz (6-2) 6 IP, 6 R, 4 ER, 9 H, 0 BB, 4 K.
Hitters: Darlington -- Archie Dixon 4 for 4, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBIs, Cam McCrae 2 for 3, 2B, 2 RBIs, Justin Brackington 2 for 4, 2B, 2 RBIs; HHH -- Desmond Bush 2 for 3, Adam Orischak 1 for 2, 2 R, Kevin Hickey 1 for 3, 2B, RBI.