Two Fort Mill errors in extra innings aided Nation Ford baseball in their 7-2 win over the Jackets to tie the season series at 1-1 with a decisive game three coming up Friday sending the winner to the playoffs.
With Nation Ford beating Fort Mill Wednesday night, Boiling Springs clinched the Region 3-5A title and put both the Falcons and the Jackets in a must win situation Friday to see who will be the second team from the region heading to the playoffs. Both teams are now 7-4 in the region.
Game two went into extra innings with Nation Ford scoring five runs on three hits and two errors in the top of the eighth giving them all they needed for the win.
“What we haven’t done recently is continue fighting and we did that tonight,” said Nation Ford head coach Michael Lewis. “If we play clean, we are good. (Jacob) Boyna had a huge performance. He kept us in that game.”
Boyna started for Nation Ford and went six and a third innings, but didn’t get the win. That went to Justin Lehman, who came in and pitched an inning and two thirds in relief allowing just two Fort Mill hits and striking out four.
Fort Mill struck early again like in game one and went up 2-0 after the first inning with the help of leadoff doubles from Eli Craddock and Connor Rasmussen, who knocked in Craddock. Keenan Sumner then drove in Rasmussen on a sacrifice fly later in the inning as both Sumner and Rasmussen each got two hits in the game.
The Jackets held that 2-0 lead until the fourth inning when Nation Ford tied the game on three hits. Gabe Simmons led off with a single and Lehman singled as well before Seth Henson drove in Simmons on a sacrifice bunt and Rylee Ashworth singled in Lehman to tie the game.
Fort Mill starter Brayden Franse pitched well going seven innings and allowing just three hits, while striking out three and walking two. Rasmussen got the ball in the eighth inning and allowing the first two base runners on for Nation Ford with a single from Kenan Bowman and then an error allowing Aaron Pendergast to reach base. Simmons would knock in a run on a sacrifice fly scoring Pendergast after an error allowed Bowman to score. Lehman would then single before Rasmussen was pulled off the mound.
Eric Yelton would then triple driving in courtesy runner Jerrick Foster before Nation Ford would add another run to give them a five-run lead heading into the bottom of the inning. In the bottom half, Fort Mill would get two runners on with hits from Rasmussen and Sumner, but could not get a run across.
Fort Mill head coach Travis Collier said he was proud of how his team played and is confident they can rebound.
“We missed some plays early in the inning,” he said. “Friday is what it is. Friday will take care of itself.”
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep