Wheels Invitational

Yellow Jackets give Trojans first loss to win Wheels

Herald correspondentApril 6, 2013 

If it seems like we have done this before, it’s because we have.

For the second straight year, Fort Mill and Northwestern battled in the finals of the Wheels Invitational baseball tournament. This year, the Jackets had the Trojans’ number, winning 5-3 to hand Northwestern its first lost of the year.

Last year, the Trojans won the tournament, 3-2.

Senior pitcher Collin Quinn allowed three hits and a run through six innings, while striking out three and not walking anyone for Fort Mill.

“We had some great outings,” said Fort Mill coach Brad Mercer. “Our pitching kept us in it. We are starting to get on a roll and that is a big thing.”

Northwestern coach Mitch Walters said he hopes to start another 18-game win streak, which Fort Mill broke Saturday evening.

“We have played a lot of baseball recently,” he said. “We want to win every time we come out. But you got to give Fort Mill credit. They swung the bats well. We knew we were going to have to score runs.”

Northwestern struck first. Trojans sophomore Dupree Hart led off the game with a double to left field. He scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by junior Josh Crump for a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, Crump, playing center, robbed Fort Mill senior Kevin Woods of a home run at the fence. When he jumped on the warning track his thighs caught the top of the fence, he flipped over the fence doing a summersault, making the catch and still landing on his feet all in one motion, leading to a lot of gasps and applause.

As spectacular as the out was, Fort Mill bounced back as Trojans’ starter Jonathan Smith gave up two hits after the catch and senior Josh Turner drove in senior Jake Windham.

Despite loading the bases, Smith battled back, getting out of the inning by giving up just the one run.

Quinn settled down after the double by Hart to start the game, and didn’t give up another hit until Hart returned to the plate at the top of the third, when he singled. Hart went to second on a balk from Quinn, but remained stranded there.

Smith helped his own cause in the fourth with a double to left field. Senior Cameron Norwood hit into an unassisted double play to Jackets shortstop Brett Netzer to again stall the Trojans’ momentum.

That momentum killer came back to hurt Northwestern as the Jackets hit their stride in the fourth inning.

Fort Mill junior Matt Navarro reached on an error to start the bottom half of the inning and senior Logan Pizzuto walked. Woods got his revenge, doubling to right field, scoring Navarro for a 2-1 lead. Windham hit a double, scoring Pizzuto and Woods.

Junior Jaden Savage hit the third double in a row to knock in Windham as Fort Mill went up 5-1.

The Trojans replaced Smith in the top of the fifth with senior Will Chitwood, who allowed just one base runner in the inning, a single by Navarro.

Quinn was pulled after the sixth inning for junior Jesse Horine. Northwestern scored two runs off Horine in the seventh inning.

Fort Mill 5, Northwestern 3

Fort Mill100400x571

Jonathan Smith, Will Chitwood (5), Stuart Hodge (6) and JT Marion (NW); Collin Quinn, Jesse Horine (7) and Justin Tepper (FM). W – Collin Quinn, L – Jonathan Smith. 2B – Dupree Hart (NW), Jonathan Smith (NW), Kevin Woods (FM), Jake Windham (FM), Jaden Savage (FM).

LOB: Northwestern 3, Fort Mill 8.

Leading hitters: Northwestern – Dupree Hart 2-3 2B; Jonathan Smith 1-2 2B; JT Marion 1-3 RBI. Fort Mill – Jake Windham 3-4 2B, 2 RBI; Jaden Savage 2-4 2B, RBI; Kevin Woods 1-3 2B, RBI.

Records: Northwestern 18-1, Fort Mill 10-8.

Larry Hinson Memorial Scholarships ($750 one-time scholarship)

Northwestern – Heath Sumwalt – University of South Carolina

Rock Hill – Stephen Zajac – Winthrop University

South Pointe – Ian Hinson – Limestone College

All-Tournament team

Zach Carter – Rock Hill

Nico Marchetti – St. Vincent Pallotti

Trevor Riggs – Namsemond River

Harrison Childers – York

Connor Faix – St. Edward

Josh Massey – South Pointe

Devryn Galloway – Rocky River

Clay Helvey – Fort Mill JV

James Dillon – Covenant Day

Garrett Vaughn – Covenant Day

Avery Pierce – Hidden Valley

Jack Moore – Hidden Valley

Josh Crump – Northwestern

Dupree Hart – Northwestern

Jonathan Smith – Northwestern

Jaden Savage – Fort Mill

Kevin Woods – Fort Mill

Collin Quinn – Fort Mill

Josh Turner – Fort Mill

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