It was the 49th win of the season for the fifth-ranked Flames and they will wait for three others teams to battle it out for the right to face the tournament's only unbeaten team Monday at 7 p.m.
Jorge Saez and Blake Barber paced the Lee hitting attack with two knocks apiece. Barber had four RBIs and Saez joined Brady Renner and Edmanuel Rivera with two runs scored. Corey Davis and Roberto Reyes were credited with runs batted in. Trevor Burgess and Reyes had Lee's other hits.
Hall improved to 10-0 and Joe Fabre joined Andy Hillis to finish the day for the Lee pitching staff. Hall left after six innings and threw only 92 pitches. Blake McCullers blasted a two-run dinger for Shorter in the eighth.
"It was good to get out to the early lead," said coach Mark Brew. "We can wait and see what happens and then see who will pitch on Monday. We are excited about the opportunity to win our first outright SSAC tournament title." The Flames shared the crown with Brewton Parker two years ago after rain caused the final to be canceled.
Brew went on to praise the defensive work of Duran, Barber and Burgess. "This team has been a joy to work with all year. They know how important the championship is to our program."
The Flames advanced to the winners’ bracket final with a 5-2 victory over William Carey (Miss.) Friday evening.
Jorge Saez, Trevor Burgess and Edmanuel Rivera delivered the key blows. Saez was the only Flame with two hits and he also collected a pair of RBIs. Burgess knocked in a run and scored once, while Rivera posted a sacrifice fly that drove a teammate across the plate.
Brady Renner, who reached base four times, helped the Flames tally their first score when he led off the third inning with a single. He advanced to second on a throwing error by the Crusader pitcher and scored on a one-base knock by Saez. The Lee catcher stole second and third and then scored on an error by the William Carey third baseman.
William Carey cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third and the contest remained that way until Lee put three big runs on the board in the sixth. It all started when Mike Moore reached on an error by the shortstop. Roberto Duran followed with a single and Burgess ripped a double that pushed home another run. Rivera lifted a deep fly to center that scored Duran and Saez put the cap on the three-run inning with his second RBI single of the night.
The Crusaders added their only other run in the bottom of the inning as four Flames hurlers limited the Mississippi club to only five hits. Vince Spilker (6-2) picked up the win. He worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and one earned run. Spilker fanned seven and walked three.
"I thought Vince got stronger and pitched better late in the game," noted coach Mark Brew. "It still was not one of our better games but we found a way to win the first two nights in this tournament and I guess that's what counts."
Kyle Briner came on to record a single out in the bottom of the seventh, while Joe Fabre and Jose Samayoa combined to work a perfect eighth and ninth inning. Kyle Wilson was the starting and losing pitcher for the Crusaders. However, the most impressive hurler of the night had to be Zachary Magee. He came on in the sixth inning and did not allow a hit. He struck out three and did not walk a single batter. Ronald Camacho paced the losers with a double, single and an RBI.
"The top of our order stepped up big for us again," added Brew. "Renner reached base four times and Saez has to be our hottest hitter over the past two or three weeks. With the middle of our order not producing, it was huge that Burgess had another good night and the sacrifice fly by Rivera added a big third run in the sixth."
Rivera also had at least sparkling plays from his shortstop position and Blake Barber was a standout at second. The Flames did commit a couple of errors but William Carey hurt their cause with five miscues.