Fort Mill continued its march through the postseason by winning the District II baseball championship, beating Blythewood 7-3 Wednesday.
Fort Mill now heads to the Upper State championship tournament and will host T.L. Hanna, which advanced after splitting a double-header with Nation Ford by taking the nightcap. The title game will be playe at Fort Mill Saturday, but the time has yet to be determined.
The Jackets’ bats carried them against Blythewood as they scattered nine hits and were led by seniors Justin Tepper, Brett Netzer and Jaden Savage at the plate.
“Our hitters are swinging it,” said Fort Mill head coach Brad Mercer. “Netzer came up with a big hit. His home run was big for us. We are playing well as a team.”
Fort Mill junior Clay Helvey got the start for the Jackets on the mound.
Blythewood struck first in the top of the first as catcher Andrew Crook singled and Dwight Stokes, running for Crook, was driven in by first baseman Drew Ellis.
In the second, Fort Mill left fielder Jackson Massey was hit by a pitch and first baseman Mason Jordan singled. Both players advanced on a passed ball and Helvey walked to load the bases. Netzer’s double then cleared the bases, giving the Jackets a 3-1 lead.
Blythewood threatened in the third, getting two runners on base, but Helvey battled backnot allowing the Bengals to score.
Tepper and Massey singled to start the third as the Jackets loaded the bases with a Jordan walk.
Grant Fry, running for Tepper, and Massey would score on two separate passed balls extending Fort Mill’s lead. Third baseman Chase Beaudry’s single then drove in Jordan.
The Bengals again threatened in the fourth at the first two batters got on before Helvey was pulled. He would leave after going three innings and allowing three runs on three hits with three walks. Helvey was replaced by Garrett Leonard, who allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. Blythewood designated hitter Chandler Henderson hit a sacrifice fly scoring the Bengals’ third run.
Fort Mill would get a run back in the fourth with a solo home run from Netzer. A walk by Jaden Savage and a single by Tepper put two men on for Fort Mill, forcing Blythewood starter Toby Robson to be pulled. Bengals reliever Tripper Ergle got out of the inning unscathed.
Blythewood’s Tyler Romanik reached on an error in the fifth and Crook walked. The Bengals loaded the with two outs. However, Leonard got a strikeout to end the inning.
In the sixth, Savage, singled but a double play ball gave Blythewood one last shot.
Fort Mill brought in starter Nick Matchunis to close the game with a runner on first. Matchunis induced a double play and a popout to end the game.
Fort Mill 7, Blythewood 3
Toby Robson, Tripper Ergle (4) and Andrew Crook (B); Clay Helvey, Garrett Leonard (4), Nick Matchunis (7) and Justin Tepper (FM). W – Clay Helvey, L – Toby Robson. 2B – Drew Ellis (B), Brett Netzer (FM). HR – Brett Netzer (FM). LOB: Blythewood 7, Fort Mill 6.
Leading hitters: Blythewood – Drew Ellis 1-4 2B RBI; Chandler Henderson 1-3 RBI.
Fort Mill – Brett Netzer 2-4 2B, HR, 4 RBI; Justin Tepper 2-4; Jaden Savage 2-3.
Records: Blythewood 18-9, Fort Mill 17-5.