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Deerfield baseball clinches region title

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Deerfield-Windsor head coach Rod Murray came up with a pretty impressive fact after Tuesday's region championship clinching win over Brookwood.

In Murray's three years as head coach with the Knights, DWS has never played a playoff game away from home. That includes two trips to the state championship and one run to the GISA Class AAA semis.

That fact likely won't change anytime soon. The Knights' 13-2 win in five innings over Brookwood on Tuesday sewed up another GISA Region 3-AAA championship and guaranteed home field in the first and second rounds 0 -- and possibly further, if Deerfield keeps winning.

The Knights (15-4, 7-1 Region 3-AAA) will host a first round game May 7 against an opponent to be determined once the GISA playoff brackets are released. After losing to Southland in the region opener, Deerfield ran off seven straight wins to capture its third straight region crown under Murray.

"We started off 0-1 (in region)," Murray said. "That's another credit to our kids. Everybody here just does a great job. (Coaches) Ty (Kinslow) and Melvin (Kinslow) are relentless on how hard they work."

Region championships have become a habit at Deerfield. Things would just be strange on Nottingham Way without baseball in May. That elusive state championship, the last of which came in 2003, is the only thing missing lately.

Junior Chris Moates, Deerfield's ace pitcher and No. 3 hitter, has heard all about it since joining the team this year.

"They've talked about how much they want to win it all," said Moates, who had three of the Knights' 14 hits Tuesday and finished 3-for-4 with a RBI and three runs scored.

Deerfield led, 2-0, after the first and then opened the floodgates in the second inning. After an out to open the inning, the next nine Knights reached base, including seven singles in the inning that kept the merry-go-round going.

Michael Laslie, Banks Kinslow, Moates, Davis Moore, Matt Moree and Harris Webb all had RBI singles in the inning to help push the Knights' lead to 10-0. The offensive eruption came one night after their bats had gone silent in an 11-1 loss to Mount de Sales.

"(Monday) we struggled hitting a little bit, but (Tuesday) we came out swinging the bats well," Murray said. "That second inning was fun. The kids regrouped and came out and played well."

Every Knights starter finished with a hit, while Kinslow picked up the win with four innings of work. He allowed two runs on five hits and walked four while striking out seven.

Moree was 2-for-2 at the plate with three RBI. Kinslow also added three RBI, while senior Reece Kinney also had two hits. The Knights honored their two lone seniors, Kinney and Michael Matthews, who is a three-year starter at second base and Deerfield's leadoff hitter, before Monday's game.

Brookwood was led by Jordan Bradshaw's two-RBI single in the third, which accounted for their only runs of the game. The Knights will finish up the regular season Monday at Tattnall Square Academy, which has won the GISA Class AAA title the last two seasons while eliminating the Knights each time.