For Fort Mill senior Connor Rasmussen, it was just another day at the office.
The East Carolina University commit led the Fort Mill baseball team to a 6-2 win over the Berkeley Stags in game one of the best of three series in the 5A state championship getting it done on the mound and at the plate.
On the mound, he went the distance allowing two runs on just five hits, while walking two and striking out seven. At the plate he was just as dangerous going 3-3 missing a triple short of the cycle with two RBI.
“He pitched phenomenal,” said Fort Mill head coach Travis Collier. “He minimized in the sixth inning which was huge. What else can you say. Get the win on the mound and go 3-3 with a bomb in the sixth to ignite the crowd.”
Fort Mill will now travel to Monks Corner Tuesday for game two of the championship series. The Jackets improved to 25-7 on the season with the game one win.
As the season has worn on, the Jackets have started getting more production throughout their entire line up. Carter Blankinship and Zach Jennings also went 3-3 with Blankinship getting two RBI in the game.
“The bottom 8 and 9 were special tonight,” Collier said. “I am proud of these guys. One thing these guys are doing really well now is relaying at bats to one another. It is phenomenal the teamwork that is going on now. Still a long series. We have to go to a tough place Tuesday and we will figure it out from there.”
Berkeley opened things up in the top of the first with a single and the runner tried stretching the hit into a double only to get called out sliding into second.
Rasmussen then led the game off with a double in the bottom of the first inning, but as the starting pitcher he got pinch ran for and that runner for the Jackets got picked off.
In the top of the second, a Berkeley batter hit a triple which led to some controversy if the player was safe at third or not. A couple of pitches later a passed ball allowed a Stags run to put them up 1-0.
Fort Mill had their chances in the second inning, but had a runner get picked off on a liner to third and then were thrown out at home.
In the bottom of the third, things started coming together for Fort Mill. Rasmussen singled after a Jackson McKinney walk. McKinney would then score on a delayed steal before Dylan Schaefer would double in Rasmussen to put the Jackets up 2-1 with no outs. Blankinship would then drive in two runs to give Fort Mill a 4-1 lead in the inning.
Fort Mill got the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, but for the second time in the game had a runner picked off, this time ending the inning without the Jackets being able to plate a run.
Rasmussen, naturally a middle infielder, continued to get stronger on the mound as the game went on with getting three up and three down in the fifth.
Berkeley bats started coming to life in the sixth inning leading the inning off with a single. A passed ball and a wild pitch led to a walk to put runners on the corner. Another single made it 4-2, but some great fielding for Fort Mill allowed them to get out of the inning allowing just that one run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Fort Mill got some insurance off a two-run home run from Rasmussen to put them up 6-2. Running on adrenaline, Rasmussen came out in the seventh inning to finish the game off and struck out the side.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep