The Fort Mill High baseball team advanced to the District I finals Monday to face Easley in a must win to get to the Upper State playoff bracket.
Nation Ford High, however, fell 9-1 to Riverside, knocking the Falcons out of the state playoffs.
Fort Mill came back to beat the Gaffney Indians 7-6 Saturday night in a home elimination game and now must sweep a doubleheader from Easley on the road to stay alive. Fort Mill rallied twice to tie the game after being down 3-1 after the first inning. The Jackets were led by catcher JT Marr and outfielder Kobie MacKinnon, both of who drove in two runs.
“We felt confident with our offense,” said Fort Mill head coach Travis Collier. “I told our pitching coach (Donnie Helms) that we were going to put seven on the board tonight.”
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Collier said he knew that Gaffney was in trouble with its pitching and may have lacked the number of arms it needed to pull out the win. In the third inning, Fort Mill pulled ahead after scoring three runs off four hits. Third baseman Bartow Keller started the inning with a single and was knocked in by shortstop Joey Tepper. MacKinnon walked and Logan Miller singled before Marr drove them both in.
Gaffney scored two in the top of the fourth to regain the lead as Fort Mill brought in Drew Hartman in relieve starter Kyle Arrage. In the bottom of the fourth, Fort Mill again tied the game as Griffin Reddeck drove in Jacob Wood, who walked earlier in the inning.
The Indians took back the lead in the fifth inning to go up 6-5, but Fort Mill scored twice in the bottom of the fifth with the help of two hits. First baseman Hunter Helms singled to start the bottom half of the fifth and outfielder Justin Kerosetz drove in Helms two batters later. MacKinnon eventually walked with the bases loaded to get an RBI that was the eventual game winner.
Falcons down early
While Fort Mill extends its playoff run, Nation Ford on the other hand, could not recover from an early deficit against Riverside.
The Falcons were down 3-0 after the first inning, but were able to get their only run in the third inning. Alex Stennett went 1-2 with an RBI triple driving in Luke Gardner, who went 2-3 in the game.
Nation Ford only managed five hits in the game. Matt Levy got the start for Nation Ford and allowed four runs on seven hits for the Falcons. Riverside scored another run in the fourth to extend its lead to 4-1 and then exploded for five runs in the sixth inning to go up 9-1.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM