LEBANON, Tenn. — If anything could rival the impressiveness of Baylor's back-to-back baseball state championships, it's the dominance of the team's postseason run.
In their past three Division II-AA tournament appearances — a span of eight straight games so far — the Red Raiders have yet to lose. In fact, no opponent has come within three runs of them.
That streak continued Wednesday as the prep version of the Big Red Machine rolled past rival McCallie 4-1 to advance to Thursday's championship round.
"Too many times that sense of urgency for high school kids comes too late, but these guys know how to lock in when it matters," said Baylor coach Greg Elie, whose team owns four wins in as many meetings with the Blue Tornado this season.
For the second straight day, Baylor (25-3) got a lights-out pitching performance from its starter as junior Patrick Johnson followed Jay Dill's three-hit performance from the previous day with one of his own. Johnson struck out six batters and gave up one hit in each of the final three innings, including Carter Hewitt's solo homer in the seventh.
Cooper Kinney, who on Tuesday was named the state's Mr. Baseball for D-II, went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs, while Daniel Corona had an RBI triple and Jonathan Larrea brought a run home with a sacrifice fly.
"Patrick was lights out for us," Elie said. "Our first two pitchers have picked right up right where they left off in the regular season and pitched about as well as you could hope.
"Every time you think you've seen it all from Coop, that kid does something else to amaze you. He's pretty much right in the middle of every big inning we have, and our guys feed off of it."
Baylor will face Briarcrest at 2 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, with an if necessary game to be played immediately after if the Saints knock off the Red Raiders. Briarcrest eliminated McCallie late Wednesday night, 11-1.
* South Pittsburg 5, North Greene 1: In Class A, Conner Rowell gave up one hit in five innings and Austin Jackson came on to close out the final two innings as the Pirates won their second game of the day to remain alive in the loser's bracket. Javen Talley went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Hunter Powers was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Brayden Sanders and Jared Stone each drove in a run for the Pirates, who will face Moore County at 3 p.m. Thursday
* South Pittsburg 6, South Fulton 5: Jackson went the distance for the pitching win Wednesday morning, and Reece Genter was 3-for-4 with the go-ahead RBI in the sixth. Stone went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
* Ripley 12, Signal Mountain 7: After the Eagles had taken a 7-2 lead in the third, Ripley answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning, then added five more in the sixth to eliminate Signal Mountain in Class AA. Preston Worley had two RBIs for the Eagles, and teammates Hunter Davis and Logan Farr each went 2-for-4.
* Clarksville 11, McMinn County 2: The Wildcats scored nine of their runs over the final three innings to eliminate the Cherokees in Class AAA. Mason Roderick was 2-for-3 with an RBI for McMinn County.