LEXINGTON, S.C. (WJBF) – Four days of rain delays and postponements proved to be worth the wait for Augusta Christian (19-5), as the Lions won the decisive third game of the South Carolina Independent School Association Class-AAAA state championship series 9-3 over Hammond at Lexington High School. It is the school’s first state baseball championship since 2007.

“I can’t put it into words,” said winning pitcher Jeb Bradford. “I’m so thankful for this team. I’m so thankful for the Lord providing me with this team and with this season.”

Both teams scored three runs in the first, after which Bradford did not allow a hit while striking out 11 before giving way to Wilson Donnelly in the sixth.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” Bradford said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our coach. Everything that we worked for has been worth it and it feels so good to finally do it.”

Donnelly broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the fifth with a solo homerun to center field, one of his two RBI in the game.

“Nothing but joy,” Donnelly said. “Nothing but joy for these seniors. Great season. I couldn’t ask for it to be any other way. Just awesome.”

The Augusta Christian School baseball team poses with the SCISA state championship trophy in Lexington, South Carolina on May 22, 2023.

The Lions added three insurance runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh before Donnelly closed the game by coaxing a fly ball to center field, which touched off a celebration on the pitcher’s mound, with the Lions dogpiling on top of one another.

“Special. That’s the only way to describe them,” said Augusta Christian head coach Austin Robinson. “They started weight lifting in September and never stopped working. This is a moment they will be able to live with the rest of their life.”