A back-and-forth battle saw Fort Mill Post 43 Juniors come out on top with an 8-7 win over Richland Post 215 to sweep their first-round playoff series against the Columbia based team Tuesday.
Post 43 will now move onto the second round, another best-of-three series against Lexington. That series starts Monday, July 19. Fort Mill improves to 14-0 on the season with the win.
Post 43 was able to battle back with the help of a huge three-run home run from Chico Moreno to give them an 8-5 lead in the fifth inning, and then held off a rally from Richland as Killion Bennett struck out four in two innings of work to get the save.
“Killion closing the game was big,” said Post 43 Juniors head coach Michael Lewis. “When we needed something, we stepped up. Chico had a good series.”
Richland came out swinging and got to Post 43’s pitching early in the game going up 1-0 after one inning. They added two more runs in the top of the second, before Post 43 could rally and score four in the bottom of the second. In the inning, Fort Mill scored the four runs on two hits with Connor Griffin and Lane Ross each driving in a run in the inning. Griffin went 2-4 in the game and Ross went 3-3 with two RBI.
Post 43 starter Trevor Hanson lasted just an inning and two thirds giving up three runs on four hits, as Fort Mill used four pitchers in the game. Carter Cox came in in the second inning for Post 43 and went two innings in relief, but Richland started getting to him as well as he allowed two runs on one hit.
“We got to pitch better,” Lewis said. “You got to give Richland credit, they played with their back against the wall.”
Post 215 scored two runs in the top of the fourth to regain the lead at 5-4, but Fort Mill added a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game up at 5-5. Ethan Lambert came in in the fourth inning and got the win as he pitched the fifth before getting into trouble himself. Lambert went an inning and a third allowing two runs on two hits, and was the pitcher of record when Moreno hit his home run.
Bennett was able to come in the game in the sixth inning and get Post 43 out of a jam with the bases loaded clinging to an 8-7 lead.
Seniors dominate Hamlet
In an effort not to get stagnant with a first-round playoff bye, the Post 43 Senior team will play three non-league games this week. Their first game was an 18-0 win Tuesday night against North Carolina’s Hamlet Post 49 near Rockingham.
Post 43 pounded out 15 hits as Patrick Matthews, Gabe Simmons and Chase Dougherty all got three hits in the game and Aaron Pendergast hit a grand slam. Dougherty and Keith Feeley each drove in three runs as well.
Jacob Boyna pitched five innings and allowed just two hits, while striking out eight in the win.
Post 43 will now play at home Wednesday at Fort Mill High at 7 p.m. against Inman and is scheduled to travel to Inman Thursday for a game as well.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep