Fort Mill’s Braden Gritz celebrates after scoring his second of four goals against JL Mann Tuesday in the 5A Upper State finals.

GREENVILLE – The Fort Mill boys soccer team shocked top ranked JL Mann Patriots on the road to win the 5A Upper State Championship 5-0 Tuesday night.

JL Mann came into the game ranked fourth in the country according to MaxPreps at 22-2 and No. 1 in 5A, while Fort Mill was ranked seventh in 5A.

The Jackets will now face the Stratford Knights in the 5A state championship Friday, May 10 in Columbia at Memorial Stadium. Fort Mill improved to 15-8-1 overall with the win.

“I believe they underestimated us,” said Fort Mill assistant coach Pete Burroughs. “We are flying high right now. Our boys have worked hard.”

Fort Mill started off strong scoring three minutes into the match as Braden Gritz got a one-on-one breakaway and faked out the Patriots’ keeper.

Gritz again was able to score 90 seconds later, as JL Mann left the backfield nearly empty which led to another goal.

The Patriots were so keen on scoring early that they showed gaps in their defense.

A shocked Patriots team tightened the defense up and started controlling possession more keeping the ball on their end of the field.

JL Mann started playing with a little more aggression and stayed on the attack being in a deficit. With that urgency, they peppered Fort Mill keeper Nicky Gritz.

Fort Mill didn’t have a lot of offensive opportunities in the first half, but made the most of what they did.

Nicolas Diaz broke free on a breakaway by the Jackets down the left side of the field to score in the 25th minute.

Then little more than a minute later off a deflection from a free kick, Braden Gritz scored his third goal of the game for the hat trick and a 4-0 Fort Mill lead.

The Jackets had a comfortable 4-0 lead coming out of the half, but they didn’t let their foot off the gas in the second half.

While not needing to score, Fort Mill picked up the defensive intensity with the Patriots controlling possession.

The Jackets’ defense however swarmed JL Mann and was able to hold them at bay.

Much like the first half, Fort Mill took advantage of their offensive efficiency and opportunities and added a fifth goal in the 66th minute as Braden Gritz got goal number four on the night. He even seemed surprised by his performance.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

May 7 Roundup

The Fort Mill baseball team lost 10-6 to Dutch Fork in the District II Championship in Irmo. JB Walters went 2-4 with two RBIs to lead the Jackets. Thomas Ealey went 3-4 as well. Fort Mill used five different pitchers in the loss. The Jackets end their season with a 22-8 record.

The Catawba Ridge softball team tore through Airport Eagles winning 12-0 to advance in the playoffs. The win was the Copperheads’ seventh consecutive shutout. Catawba Ridge improved to 24-2 overall.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Fort Mill’s Brayden Hunsucker fakes out a JL Mann defender during the Jackets’ match in Greenville.