Fort Mill’s Maddie Drerup tossed a one hitter against Lexington and hit a grand slam to lead the Jackets.

LEXINGTON – On Tuesday night, the Fort Mill softball team got knocked down. On Wednesday night, they got back up.

Fort Mill busted game two of the 5A state softball championship series open against the Lexington Wildcats with one swing of the bat. A grand slam by Maddie Drerup and a one hitter by her helped to lead the Jackets to a series tying 7-2 win over the Wildcats.

Game three is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday night at Blythewood High with one team leaving as 5A state champions. Fort Mill improved to 18-6 on the season with the win, while Lexington dropped to 27-3.

“We are fighters,” said Fort Mill head coach Chuck Stegall. “We are just country scrappers. It is good night to be their coach.”

The Jackets put runners on in the first two innings, but struggled to get that timely hit that led to a run. 

Lexington put two runners on in the bottom of the second, but Fort Mill’s Drerup was able to battle back and get the outs without allowing a run. Both Wildcat base runners reached without getting a hit. 

Fort Mill intentionally walked Sara Gordon three times. Gordon in game one went 3-3 with two home run and four RBIs. Gordon was again left stranded as Drerup struck out the side minus walk. 

“We couldn’t let her bat,” Stegall said. “I don’t want any one person to be able to change the game. She can change the game with one swing.”

Fort Mill struggled to create any offense. Besides a hit in the first and second inning, the Jackets were not able to really threaten in the first four innings.

In the top of the fifth, things started to come together offensively for the Jackets. Fort Mill’s Olivia Poteat hit a single down the left field line with one out. Brynn Bartolini then reached on an error and Ava Balsinger singled to load the bases. Drerup then smashed a grand slam to left field to give Fort Mill a 4-0 lead. 

Things didn’t go as smoothly for the Jackets in the bottom of the fifth as Fort Mill made two errors and with the bases loaded Gordon was intentionally walked to allow one run to score and break the shutout. Lexington would tack on another run in the inning to cut the Jackets lead to 4-2. 

Fireworks continued for Fort Milll’s offense in the sixth inning with a two-run homer by Balsinger after an RBI single from Bartolini scored Poteat who reached on a double. Fort Mill came out with three runs on four hits to take a 7-2 lead. 

Drerup continued to cruise and didn’t give a hit until the seventh inning with one out. She struck out 10 and walked five, three of which were intentional. 

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Fort Mill’s Vicki Lott tags out a base runner for Lexington at second base during game two Wednesday night.