Fort Mill’s Dusty Sanderlin was a key player in game one of the Jackets series against Nation Ford.

In any race, a good start is key and the Fort Mill baseball team jumped out to a good start Monday in taking game one of a three game series against rivals Nation Ford 5-1.

The win put Fort Mill in a good position with game two being at Fort Mill High Wednesday with the winner of the series clinching a playoff spot. The loser of the series will be out of the playoffs as COVID-19 limitations restrict the number of teams allowed in the playoffs. Fort Mill improves to 7-3 in Region 3-5A and Nation Ford falls to 6-4 in the region.

“It took some time, but these guys have bought in,” said Fort Mill head coach Travis Collier. “I am proud of the way these kids played.”

Fort Mill came out swinging the bat and went after Falcons’ starter Eric Yelton right away scoring three runs on three hits in the top of the first inning. Jackets’ leadoff hitter Eli Craddock got hit by a pitch, which set up Connor Rasmussen, who went 3-3 in the game and was a hit away from the cycle, tripling to knock in Craddock and give Fort Mill the lead. Keenan Sumner would then single to score Rasmussen and then was driven in himself by a triple from Zach Schaefer.

Jackets’ starter Dusty Sanderlin started off strong and cruised for the most part allowing just two hits through the first six innings as Nation Ford struggled to hit the ball until the seventh inning.

“You have to tip your hat to them,” said Nation Ford head coach Michael Lewis. “We have got to hit better. We have got to protect at the plate.”

Fort Mill rattled out 12 hits in the game and picked up at least one hit every inning. Besides Rasmussen, Schaefer went 3-4 with an RBI and Sumner went 2-4 with an RBI. Sanderlin also helped himself out at the plate going 2-4 with an RBI.  On the mound, Sanderlin went six and a third innings allowing three hits and one run, while walking three and striking out four.

The Jackets added runs in the second and third innings, both on two hits. In the second inning, Nathan Brooks doubled and was driven in by Scott Young. Then in the third, Sanderlin doubled to start the inning off and was driven in on a sacrifice from Riley Reyes.

In the seventh, Rasmussen came in to get the save and gave up two hits, one of which was a single to Seth Hanson, who had the only RBI in the game for Nation Ford. He drove in Justin Lehman, who walked earlier in the inning.

Nation Ford had five hits with players getting singles other than Hanson being Avery Childs, Gabe Simmons, Rylee Ashworth and Yelton.

Game two is Wednesday at Fort Mill with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.


The Fort Mill girls’ lacrosse team fell to the Riverside Warriors 17-9 in the Upper State championship on the road Monday night. Fort Mill ends their season at 13-5 overall.


Catawba Ridge softball beat Nation Ford 12-4 at Nation Ford. The win puts the Copperheads at 16-7 overall and the loss drops Nation Ford to 11-8 overall. The Falcons will next host Fort Mill Tuesday evening. Catawba Ridge is scheduled to next play May 7 at home against South Pointe.


Catawba Ridge boys’ soccer beats Fort Mill 2-0 to finish the regular season at 19-0-2 and are now ranked fourth in the country. With the loss, Fort Mill falls to 6-8-2 with the loss and will next play at home Thursday in their last regular season game against Boiling Springs.

Nation Ford finished their Region 3-5A schedule with a 4-0 win over Gaffney on the road. The Falcons are now 11-7 overall and 5-3 in region play.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Nation Ford’s Gabe Simmons gets a hit during the Falcons game against Fort Mill Monday. Simmons had one of the Falcons five hits in the game.