Chiefs, Pippin deal Socastee first region loss of season

The loud noise you may have heard Tuesday night in the Socastee area was the sound of the Region VIII-AAA baseball standings being shaken up.

Visiting North Myrtle Beach dealt the Braves their first region loss of the season with a 7-1 victory in the de facto unification title match of the Mingo Bay Classic.

The Chiefs and Braves won their respective brackets in last week’s national tournament, but the big game with serious playoff implications was Tuesday.

The Chiefs (15-6 overall, 5-4 region) assured themselves a playoff spot by doing what no other region foe had been able to do so far this season – beat Socastee.

The Braves (17-4, 8-1) now find themselves in a first-place tie with region rival and defending state champion St. James, which defeated Wilson on Tuesday. The two teams meet Friday at St. James for the region crown.

North Myrtle Beach avenged an earlier loss this season by striking right out of the gate. The Chiefs scored three runs in the first, but Socastee closed the gap to 3-1 on Jared Landry’s RBI double.

But North Myrtle Beach pitcher Billy Pippin took matters into his own hands, helping his cause with a two-run homer in the third to break the game open.

Pippin (5-1) went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and shut down the Braves the rest of the way, tossing a complete-game six-hitter with two strikeouts on the night.

North Myrtle Beach’s Billy Ferguson and Lucas Ray went 2-for-4 at the plate as the Chiefs pounded out 11 hits and handed Socastee’s Chase Keevert (5-1) his first loss of the year.

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