The Fort Mill softball program has had a lot of firsts under head coach Chuck Stegall. On Friday night they accomplished another one.
Fort Mill beat the Dorman Cavaliers 10-5 to win their first ever 5A Upper State championship. They will now face the Lexington Wildcats in the best of three series next week with game one being at Fort Mill Monday night. Fort Mill is now 17-5 overall on the season.
Stegall who started coaching softball as a rec coach now has Fort Mill two wins away from their first ever state championship. He has been a part of the program for roughly 20 years and is retiring after the season.
He couldn’t put his emotions into words after the win Friday night.
“Words don’t describe it,” he said. “We have been working on this for 10 years. We have had some good teams. We talked about it. We have set high standards. These kids never give up. They believe in what we say most of the time. This is what we worked on right here.”
The fireworks didn’t take long to start for both teams. With one out in the top of the first inning. Dorman launched a solo home run to go up 1-0. Starting pitcher Maddie Drerup for the Jackets then settled down to get out of the inning.
Fort Mill came right back in the bottom of the first inning and added two runs. Brynn Bartolini singled to open the bottom of the first. An error in the bottom of the first allowed the Jackets to load the bases loaded before Trinity Wall got hit by a pitch and allowed the first Fort Mill run of the game. Emma Tisdale then reached on a fielder’s choice and put the Jackets up 2-1.
Dorman scored a run in the top of the third and then Fort Mill doubled them up in the bottom of the inning with two runs. Ava Balsinger opened the inning up with a double followed by a double from Drerup as they changed positions and allowed the Jackets to regain the lead at 3-2. Trista Reid would then drive in Drerup.
In the bottom of the fourth, Dorman would give Fort Mill a leg up making two errors and a single by Balsinger would score another Jackets’ run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Vicki Lott led off with a double. Bartolini would then drive in a pinch runner before Balsinger would single and score on a two run double by Drerup. Reid would single in Drerup and the rout was on for Fort Mill.
Dorman refused to go quietly down 10-2 entering the seventh inning. They got two on with one out when Drerup then walked a batter to load the bases before a sacrifice fly would allow a Dorman run. The Cavaliers would plate two more runs to make it 10-5, but Fort Mill would work their way out of the jam and win their first ever Upper State title.
Drerup allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out three and walking two. She also went 2-2 at the plate with three RBI. Balsinger went 3-3 as well and Bartolini went 2-4 as the two of them each had an RBI. Reid went 1-4 with two RBI as did Tisdale.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep