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RECAP: South Australia to play for gold after dramatic 3-2 win over NSW at Australian School Championships
05/04/2018 4:18 AM ET
 (Laura Bond)

South Australia has a shot at their first Australian School Championship gold medal in state history after winning a tense contest over New South Wales 3-2.

South Australia had to win the game to play for gold after dropping a game to Queensland earlier in the day. 

What a game it was. It had a little bit of everything - from a pitcher's duel, to clutch two out hitting, to stand out defensive plays, to a nerve-wracking bases-oad final inning. 

South Australia seemed well on their way to the championship game when they were up 3-0 in the sixth and just need just five outs to win. But New South Wales clawed back and had bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh.

Enter relief pitcher Kynan Skein who induced two outs to clinch the win.

"They're definitely tense moments but those are the moments you want in a game like this," says SA shortstop Curtis Mead, who had an RBI double in the game. "The coaches have instilled an attitude that you want to make the final out and make the last play of the game so we live for pressure."

The game started as a battle between South Australia's Will Kortekaas and New South Wale's Josh Pearl. Neither team was able to break each other until the game reached it's late stages.

The host team had been frustrated all day and struggling at the plate while making silly errors in the field. They needed to be switched on defensively and take advantage of their opportunities. 

South Australia had struggled all day with two-out hitting. With two outs on the board, runners on the corner and the situation becoming more dire by the pitch Carey McLeod stepped to the plate.

He battled off seven pitches from Pearl and lined one to right field. It found some space, rolled to the wall and cashed in both runs.

2-0 South Australia. 

Then things started rolling for the hosts. On the first batter of the fifth inning a hard hit ground ball was destined for the outfield. Jacob Scott dove, grab the ball behind him and from his back knee gunned the runner down at first.

It was that kind of play that won them the game.

"Up until today our defense has been what we've built our game on," says Mead. "We struggled in the field today but we have so many players who can make big plays." 

Curtis Mead had a big double off the wall to drive in another run in the sixth on another two out hit.

At 3-0 heading into the sixth South Australia were sitting pretty.

Until they weren't.

New South Wales strung together three hits in a span of four batters and benefitted from an SA fielding error. It resulted in two runs to cut the lead to 3-2. 

With two outs and and a runner on third Harry Knuckey took an awesome diving catch to hold the runner and keep it a one run game.

Then New South Wales threatened with bases loaded and got out of the jam thanks to Kynan Skein. 

Curtis Mead is set for a big day on Saturday for South Australia who play in the Gold Medal at 12PM. Mead, who has won the U18 National Championship, Senior League Title, Division 1 Title and Bite rookie of the year in a 15-month window, says this championship would be "mean the most" to him.

"It's just that we've never won it before. I'd love to be on the team that has done it for the first time," he says.

South Australia still has two starting pitchers left to go. Austin McClure and Kynan Skein both have yet to allow a run.

On this day Will Kortekaas went 6.1 and allowed only two runs. It was another great pitching performance. 

South Australia has the lowest ERA in the tournament.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.