Nation Ford’s Rylee Ashworth looks to apply a tag at first as a Blythewood player dives back into the bag.

As one season came to an end, another keeps going.

The baseball season came to an end for Nation Ford and Catawba Ridge Monday, as the softball seasons continued for Fort Mill and the Copperheads.

The Falcons baseball team lost to the Blythewood Bengals 5-3 in an elimination game in the 5A playoffs.  The game was a back-and-forth effort by both squads until the fifth when the Bengals scored two runs on two hits to get the lead for the final time.

“We hit it at people,” said Nation Ford head coach Michael Lewis. “You got to tip your cap to them. We had some self-inflicted wounds. But I am proud of them.”

Nation Ford struck first in the top of the first inning as Gabe Simmons doubled in Aaron Pendergast to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Blythewood came back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning as the give and take between the two teams started.

The Falcons took a 2-1 lead in the second inning on a Steven Johnson sacrifice driving in Rylee Ashworth, who doubled to get things started for Nation Ford. Blythewood would score two in the second inning to grab the lead for the first time.

In the fourth inning, Nation Ford went ahead as Seth Hanson tripled and then was driven in by Ashworth, who went 2-3 in the game with an RBI. Hanson also went 2-3 in the game and would double in the sixth inning as well. Both Hanson and Ashworth would lead Nation Ford at the plate. Simmons would go 1-4 with an RBI, as both Pendergast and Kenan Bowman would each get hits as well for the Falcons in the loss.

Blythewood would go ahead in the fifth inning for the final time as Falcons’ starter Taylor Sprinkle would go five innings allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking three. Nation Ford would leave runners on in both the sixth and seventh innings as Bengals starter Kevin Steelman would pitch a complete game for Blythewood.

Nation Ford finished the season at 18-10 overall.

Catawba Ridge baseball would fall to Easley 7-1 in a 4A playoff elimination game on the road. Easley would go up 7-0 through the first three innings and never look back. The Copperheads would collect six hits in the game and were led by Owen Noonan, who went 1-3 with an RBI. Tyler Levy and Trevor Testerman would each go 1-3 as well.  The Copperheads only run came in the top of the sixth as Noonan would drive in Levy.

Easley got to Copperheads’ starter Tyler France early as he lasted just an inning and two-thirds allowing six runs on seven hits, while walking three. Harrison Wilson would come in for four and a third innings and allow just two hits and a run, but Catawba Ridge didn’t give him the run support he needed.

Catawba Ridge finished the season at 15-12-1 overall.


Catawba Ridge beat Travelers Rest 3-0 on the road to clinch a trip to the 4A District I championship Friday against a team to be determined. The Copperheads were led by Chloe Burger, who pitched her second consecutive shutout in the playoffs. This time she allowed just three hits while striking out 13 hitters and, in the process, recorded her 200th strikeout on the season.

Audrey Wilson went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Wilson and Jenna Gardner both had RBI singles in the first inning to give Catawba Ridge an early 2-0 lead. Kendra Murray had an RBI in the sixth inning to make it 3-0 for the Copperheads, which would be enough for the win. Catawba Ridge is now 20-7 on the season and will host the District title game Friday against either Travelers Rest or Greer.

Fort Mill beat Spring Valley in a 5A playoff elimination game 12-1 and will now move on to face Hillcrest on the road in Simpsonville Wednesday. Maddie Drerup pitched a two-hitter and struck out 10 for Fort Mill. The Jackets scattered 11 hits in the win and was led by Ava Balsinger, who went 3-3 with three RBI, including hitting two home runs. Trista Reid went 2-2 with two RBI as well. Also driving in runs for Fort Mill were Brynn Bartolini and Sydnie Spears.

The Jackets game at Hillcrest will be another elimination game, and if they can get past Hillcrest, they will play Friday at Dorman in the District I championship needing to win twice. Fort Mill is 14-4 on the season.


Fort Mill boys golf team currently sits in second place at the 5A state championship at the Country Club of South Carolina in Florence. The Jackets shot a 301 on day one and are eight shots behind Boiling Springs, who shot a 293.

The Jackets were led by a two-under par 70 (34-36) from Bryce Wittmer, who is second overall in the tournament. Griffin Tarver followed for the Jackets with a two-over par 74 (36-38) and is 14th overall. Erik Zeppelin shot a 78 (39-39) and both Keegan Brown and Cam Baker shot 79 for the Jackets.

Nation Ford’s Gabe Schmitz shot a two-over par 74 (35-39) as the Falcons lone representative.

In the 4A state championship in Hilton Head, Catawba Ridge currently sits sixth overall with a 327. AC Flora leads by nine shots with a 294. Nolan Will leads the Copperheads with a 77 (39-38), followed by a 79 (38-41) from OT Mitchell and an 83 (41-42) from Hunter Warren. Parrish Fox finished out the scoring with an 88 (45-43) for Catawba Ridge.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

The Falcons Aaron Pendergast slides at home scoring Nation Ford’s first run of the game against Blythewood Monday.