"It's only the seventh game of the year, but to get a win like this, a district win against Charleston, is big," said Kelly coach Cory Johnson. "They've become one of our main rivals, being so close to us."
The Hawks plated three runs in the sixth to wipe away a 3-0 deficit, killed two Bluejay threats in the seventh, then scored the game-winning run in their final at-bat.
Kelly (3-3) trailed 3-0 going into the home half of the sixth inning.
Leading off the inning, Dustin LeGrand walked then advanced to second on Stephen Strobel's bobbled grounder.
The second out was recorded on a flyout to right field and it looked like the Bluejays had an excellent chance to wiggle out of the jam.
Said Johnson, "We didn't give in. We put the ball in play and gave ourselves an opportunity to win."
Jordan Felter's two-out RBI double down the third-base line scored Strobel and narrowed the gap to 3-1.
Caleb Daughhetee followed with a sharp single through the hole between first and second to score Felter with the second run.
Daughhetee swiped second then dashed home with the game-tying run on Jon Simpher's RBI single.
"Another bad sixth inning," said Charleston coach Chris Stanfield, whose team has suffered through several sixth-inning meltdowns this season. "It'll just make us tougher at the end."
The Hawks' defense rose to the occasion with two crucial plays in the top of the seventh, foiling the Bluejays with a couple of putouts at home plate.
"That's something we haven't done all year," said Johnson, on the game-
saving defensive plays. "We've let one bad inning, defensively, beat us in our three losses. But we stepped up and made the plays."
After Garrison Eastman led off the seventh with a double to right field and was sacrificed to third on Billy Butler's bunt, he was nailed at the plate by freshman shortstop Taylor James.
James, who had just moved to the position from third base as part of a seventh-inning pitching change, fielded Goodin's grounder cleanly and rifled a perfect throw home for the second out.
Representing the go-ahead run, Goodin stole second, then while attempting to score on Tommy Starr's single, was gunned down at the plate by center fielder Brandon Ayers.
Kelly catcher Blake Lee completed the potential game-saving play with a super tag. He momentarily juggled the one-bounce throw from the outfield before clutching and recovering to apply the tag.
In the bottom of the seventh, Kelly's leadoff hitter Dallas Tew got aboard when hit by a pitch. Tew advanced to second when Russell Carroll drew a walk.
The third batter up was called out on a basepath ruling and the next hitter was retired on a lineout to short.
Lee then punched a two-out single to left-centerfield to send Tew home with the gamewinner.
Hard-luck Charleston (2-6), with two previous extra-inning losses and three defeats by one run, took command early.
The Bluejays opened the scoring when Eastman's single drove home Brink Naile in the first inning.
Paul Johnson's squeeze bunt plated Starr with the second Bluejay run in the fourth frame.
Charleston (2-6) tacked on an unearned run in the fifth. A two-out walk to Starr followed by Tyler McCann being hit by a pitch preceded Nick Johnson's grounder through the wickets of both the Kelly third baseman and left fielder. Starr scored and McCann appeared to have crossed the plate, but the umpire ruled his run didn't count when Johnson was thrown out at third base for the third out.
"We played our tails off, but you've got to give them credit," said Stanfield. "They got back in the ballgame."
Charleston, led by Eastman's three hits and two by Paul Johnson, outhit Kelly eight to five. Kelly's five hits were split between five players.
Daughhetee, in relief of Dallas Tew, picked up the win. He went one inning, allowed one hit and no runs, with benefit of the two key defensive plays. Tew was charged with three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts, one walk and two hit batsmen in six innings of work.
Billy Butler took the heartbreaking loss for Charleston (2-6). Butler went the distance, giving up five hits with four strikeouts and three walks.