While averaging a dozen runs per game, the Fort Mill American Legion Post 43 baseball team has jumped out to a 3-0 start on the season.
Fort Mill swept Lancaster Post 31 in a three-game series to open the season. Post 43 fell behind early before beating Lancaster 11-5 to open the season and then staged comebacks to win the next two games, 11-6 and 14-3.
“With only playing a 12-game league schedule this year it was very important for us to get off to a great start in the first week of the season,” said head coach Tom Skula.
“In every game we were down after the first inning. I told all our pitchers to keep grinding and our offense will get us back into these games. It really helps the mindsets of our pitchers knowing we have a very potent offensive that can easily get us back into the games.”
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In the first game of the series against Lancaster, Post 43 was able to scatter a dozen hits and then went on to get 13 hits in game two. The offensive output continued in the third game of the series with 15 hits, but this time, Post 43 was able to stick with one pitcher compared to three used in each of the first two games.
Throughout the series, Fort Mill rallied to score multiple runs during key innings. In the second game against Lancaster, Post 43 scored eight runs in the bottom of the first. That would continue in the third game of the series with multiple runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings.
While Fort Mill enjoyed a nice lead, Post 43’s Joey Tepper ended things on a grand slam to stop the game due to the 10-run mercy rule in the seventh inning. Post 43 scored six runs on three hits in the seventh in the 14-3 win. Hunter Helms singled and scored on a Zach Evans RBI sacrifice. Justin Kerosetz singled and Evan Lammers reached on an error before Alex Stennett walked to load the bases. Bartow Keller was hit by a pitch, scoring Kerosetz before Tepper’s slam.
“Each player in our lineup contributed this week,” Skula said. “From the top to bottom everyone had multiple hits. It was great to see an offensive explosion in game three with (Joey) Tepper and (Kobie) MacKinnon each hitting home runs.”
Noah Griffin pitched the entire third game for Post 43 allowing just two runs on 10 hits. He struggled some in the second inning, allowing Lancaster to take at 1-0 lead giving up four hits, but would settle down afterward.
Tepper went 4-5 in the game with two home runs, including a walk-off grand slam, driving in eight RBI in the game. MacKinnon also went 2-4 with a home run and three RBI. Both Helms and Evans each went 3-4 in the game.
Post 43 will be in a critical season series against Rock Hill Post 34. They will host Rock Hill Tuesday at home at Fort Mill High and be at South Pointe Monday and Thursday this week.
Fort Mill 14, Lancaster 3
Lancaster 0;1;0; 0;1;0; 1;- 3;10;2
Fort Mill 0;0;4; 3;0;1; 6;- 14;15;1
Leading hitters – Joey Tepper 4-5 2 home runs, 8 RBI; Kobie MacKinnon 2-4 home run, 3 RBI; Hunter Helms 3-4; Zach Evans 3-4
Fort Mill 3-0.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM