Rock Hill Post 34 scored nine runs in its final three at bats and edged Orangeburg Post 4 9-8 in the opening round of the American Legion baseball playoffs Monday night at Rock Hill High School.
Orangeburg led 7-0 when Post 34 started its comeback with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. A walk, a single by Ethan Neely and a two-run double down the left field line by Colton Pagoota made the score 7-2.
Rock Hill struck for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it a 7-5 game, and it did all the damage after two were out.
A pair of walks and a double steal put runners at second and third. An Orangeburg error in the outfield allowed both Jonathan Smith and Heath Sumwalt to score. Ethan Neely, who hit the fly ball, went to third on the play and scored on the second Post 4 miscue in the frame.
Orangeburg scored one run in the top of the eighth to make it 8-5. Noah Cason reached on a hit-by-pitch with one out. He stole second and scored on a sharp single to left by designated hitter Evan Graves.
Rock Hill rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 9-8 lead. Matt Hill walked to open the inning. Cody Edkins singled and Zach Thompson walked around a strikeout to load the bases.
Hill scored on a fielder’s choice ground out by Jonathan Smith and Thompson came home on a throwing error and Post 34 trailed 8-7. Heath Sumwalt was hit by a pitch and Neely walked to again load the bases. A wild pitch by Orangeburg pitcher Patrick McGee scored Smith, and Sumwalt scampered home with what proved to be the winning run when Dakota Way’s throw back to the plate was wild.
Edkins, the third Rock Hill pitcher of the night, picked up the win. He pitched the final three innings and allowed one run on one hit.
7-0 early lead
Orangeburg drew first blood with a run in the first. Way walked and scored on a double by Graves.
Post 4 made it 2-0 in the second. Hobie Dennis singled, Devin Fogle doubled, and Will Gee’s infield ground out drove in the run.
Orangeburg scored three in the third for a 5-0 lead. Cason singled, stole second and scored on a single by Graves. Cameron Huddleston’s double scored Graves, and a single by Michael Gartman plated Huddleston.
Post 4 took a 7-0 lead with a pair of runs in the fifth. A pair of Rock Hill errors and Gartman’s single accounted for the runs.
Orangeburg starter Zach Massengale cruised through the first five innings allowing only one hit, before Post 34 touched him for the two runs in the sixth. He was lifted with two outs in the seventh after Rock Hill scored three times to make it 7-5.
McGee replaced Massengale on the mound and was tagged with the loss even though two of the four runs he gave up were unearned.
Game two in the best of five series is set for Tuesday night at Orangeburg’s Mirmow Field at 7:30 p.m.
Zach Massengale, Patrick McGee (7) and Dakota Way. Jeremy Hyatt, Stuart Hodge (4), Cody Edkins (7) and Matt Hill. WP- Edkins. LP - McGee. - Evan Graves, Devin Fogle, Cameron Huddleston (O), Colton Pagoota (RH).
Leading hitters: Orangeburg - Evan Graves 4-5, 2B, 3 RBI, Noah Cason 2-4, Michael Gartman 2-4, 1 RBI; Rock Hill - Colton Pagoota 1-4, 2 RBI, Matt Hill 2-3.