LANCASTER – For the second time this season, Magdiel Cotto was part of a no-hitter as he guided Fort Mill Post 43 to an 8-0 win in game one in the best-of-three second round playoff series against North Augusta Post 71.
This time Cotto threw a complete game, no-hitter single handily striking out 14 in the process and walking just one batter. Cotto, a University of South Carolina commit, was part of a combined no-hitter earlier in the season against Chapin/Newberry.
Cotto faced just 23 batters, throwing 81 pitches in the game against North Augusta. He walked the second batter of the game and then in the seventh hit the second to the last batter of the game. Of his 81 pitches, 62 of them were strikes.
“Mag continues to show everyone why he is going to play in the SEC next year,” said Post 43 head coach Tom Skula. “We have had some great pitchers play for us in the past, but I have never experienced a player with the ability to take the game over and dominate like he has been doing all season long. It is also incredible to see him do this against very talented players on the other teams. South Carolina is getting the total package and I am excited to see him excel in the coming years.”
Cotto becomes the first Fort Mill Post 43 American Legion player in post history to throw and/or be apart of two no-hitters in one season. Just as impressive, Cotto hasn’t allowed a run or a hit since being part of the first no-hitter earlier this season. He has now thrown 22 consecutive innings without giving up a hit or allowing a run, while striking out 45 and walking seven during that time frame.
Fort Mill gave him a lot of run support starting in the first inning as Xavier Cumbee hit a two-run home run as Post 43 got on the board early. Post 43 was led at the plate by Patrick Matthews, who went 3-4 with an RBI and both Nic Curtis and Chase Dougherty, each of which got two hits in the game.
Cotto cruised with the two-run lead at one point striking out five batters on two separate occasions.
In the fourth inning, Post 43 scored four runs with the help of two hits. Dougherty led the inning off with a single and Curtis hit a second of his own two batters later. Gabe Simmons was hit by a pitch, before Matthews would drive in a run to make it 4-0. Curtis scored on a passed ball and Matthews scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-0.
“Going into this series we knew North Augusta was a very talented team,” Skula said. “To be up a game in this series really puts us in the driver’s seat entering game two on the road. I believe as the season has progressed, we are getting better in the inconspicuous aspects of the game to make us an even better team.”
With the win, Fort Mill improves to 13-2 overall on the season and will now travel to North Augusta Tuesday evening for game two in the best of three series. If they can win, they will sweep the series and head to the state tournament this weekend Aug. 14-16 at Segra Park.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep