A standout pitching performance by starter Brayden Franse and timely hitting by Yellow Jacket batters propelled Fort Mill to a 6-2 win over the Clover Blue Eagles.
Franse threw a complete game allowing two runs on three hits, while walking four and striking out four Blue Eagle hitters. Fort Mill improved to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in Region 3-5A with the win.
“He was spot on,” said Fort Mill head coach Travis Collier. “He has been working hard. He put it all together.”
Fort Mill didn’t wait long to strike as they scored a run in the bottom of the first on four walks by Clover starting pitcher Sam Czyz. Keenan Sumner walked and eventually scored when Zach Schaefer walked as well four batters later.
In the bottom of the third, Sumner singled to lead off the inning, stole second and then made it to third on a passed ball. Scott Young then singled in Sumner to give Fort Mill it’s second run of the game. Luke Garabedian then doubled to drive in Connor O’Hara, who was pinch running, as Fort Mill pushed their lead to 3-0.
Defensively Fort Mill started off well as Franse cruised through the first three innings and didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning facing the minimum number of batters.
In the fourth inning, Franse allowed a hit and then as the base runner stole second, the Jackets thought they got the third out, but came up short. While arguing, the Clover baserunner took third where a throwing error allowed the Blue Eagles first run of the game.
Franse regrouped again and face the minimum in the fifth and sixth inning. Then in the sixth inning, Fort Mill gave Franse some additional support with Zach Schaefer and Nic Bradberry singling with one out. Riley Reyes added a single as well to load the bases later in the inning with two outs. Connor Rasmussen then cleared the bases for a three-run double to make it 6-1 for the Jackets. Rasmussen went 1-4 in the game with three RBI.
In the seventh inning, Franse struggled some and loaded the bases with the help of a walk and two singles given up. A second walk of the inning allowed the second run of the game for Clover. Franse shook off the trouble and was able to strikeout the number nine Clover batter to get the complete game.
Collier said things are starting to come together for the Jackets, who look to finish off the series with Clover on the road Friday.
“We are heading in the right direction,” he said. “We got a lot of new faces on the team this year and it is taking time to get on the same page.”
Next week Fort Mill heads down to Columbia as part of a spring break tournament at Gilbert High School.
Nation Ford swept Fort Mill 6-0. Winning for the Falcons was Juan Arbeleaz 3-6, 6-4, 10-4; Charlie Lynch 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; Ian Drane 6-2, 6-0; Gage Fenbert 6-0, 6-1; Akhil Kanthamneni 6-0, 6-3. In doubles, Shiv Patel and George Lynch 6-2, 6-7, 11-9. Fort Mill falls to 4-1 on the year, while Nation Ford improves to 6-0 on the year.
Nation Ford beat Rock Hill 172-219. Leading for the Falcons was Ben Mills with a 35. Colby McCaskill shot a 43 and Tyler Kemmerlin shot a 46. Both Ben Wakefield and Justin Wosje each shot a 48.
Fort Mill aced Clover 155-177 at River Hills Country Club. The Jackets were led by a 35 from Griffin Tarver. His score was followed with a 38 from Bryce Wittmer, a 40 from Keegan Brown and a 42 from Cam Baker. The Jackets improve to 7-0 overall.
The Fort Mill girls’ lacrosse team beat Catawba Ridge 19-3. The Jackets had 10 different scorers with Taylor Wilcox leading the way three goals. Fort Mill improved to 8-3 on the season, while the Copperheads dropped to 2-8.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep