Most nights when a baseball team collects 13 hits and strikes out 13 batters, they like their chances.
Tuesday night, it wasn't enough for Rock Hill American Legion Post 34.
Rock Hill dropped a 7-6 decision to Irmo-Chapin in Game 1 of their best-of-five playoff series, putting them in a difficult spot heading into tonight's game at Dutch Fork High.
"This was just one of those nights," Post 34 coach Cody Strong said, shaking his head. "Normally you'll take one like this."
In many respects, the game went as Post 34 might have hoped to open the postseason.
Starting pitcher Jesse Brewer scattered six hits, striking out nine and walking just one.
Problem was, two of the hits were by Post 193 left fielder Steven Dowling, hitting out of the eighth spot in the order.
Dowling mashed a pair of home runs to left field on fastballs, taking advantage of a pair of mistake pitches with a solo shot in the third and a three-run job in the fourth. That the fourth-inning bomb capped a four-run outburst (the other scored on a two-out wild pitch), made it a head-scratching inning for Rock Hill.
"It is frustrating," Strong said. "I thought Brewer pitched well, even though he didn't really have his best stuff.
"You don't expect to give up those shots to someone hitting in the eight hole, but give the kid credit, they were two good swings."
The odd wild pitches were also representative of the night for Post 34, which had its own adventures on the basepaths and in the field.
They had three runners picked off after reaching safely, and made a pair of errors.
Combined with some wildness from the mound they weren't expecting, it was a recipe for disaster.
Brewer left after seven innings, turning it over to Stewart Hunt. And though Hunt struck out four Irmo-Chapin batters, he also walked five in the final two innings, setting up the game-winner in the top of the ninth.
Irmo-Chapin shortstop Alex Kirby scored the deciding run on a wild pitch which capped Hunt's final walk.
Rock Hill went down in order in the bottom of the ninth, putting them in a considerable hole in the short series.
Michael Hill, Jacob Carrington and Jeff Long paced the offense from the middle of the order with three hits each, and Hill tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with a single to left.
But when the odd mistakes crept back in, Rock Hill (10-6) had no answer.
"This was hard, because we have played pretty solid defense and played smart all year," Strong said. "When you make mental mistakes and errors, it's going to catch up with you.
"When you're trading punches with a team like this one, those things are going to come back to haunt you."
Nick Caldwell will start on the mound tonight, which will create another set of issues. He was behind the plate Tuesday, and with two other players absent this week, Post 34 will have to scramble to find a catcher. Strong said he wasn't sure how he'd fill in there, but pointed out that they've had to work around travel team schedules and other outside obligations all year.