SPARTANBURG -- At the end of a game that had a 21-3 football-style final score, Rock Hill's baseball team just wanted to take a knee.
But there is no clock to run out in this sport and no 10-run mercy rule until the seventh inning. So Spartanburg had a long way to go when it was 8-0 in the first, 15-0 in the second and when the opposition had three touchdowns worth of points in the fourth.
Rock Hill finished a three-game sweep of Spartanburg in beat-down fashion Wednesday night at Dorman High School. The top of the first inning lasted so long that Post 34 starting pitcher Russell Cook had to go back to the bullpen to warm up again.
Later when the game was completely out of hand, Rock Hill runners seemed reluctant to advance on wild pitches.
"That was not comfortable for them or for us," Rock Hill coach Steve Knight said. "It's difficult to restrain your kids because for the whole time you've had them, it's charge, charge, attack, attack. Then it's like, 'Whoa, boys.' That's very hard."
It was much harder for the team on the other side, however.
"Tonight was ridiculous," Spartanburg coach Adam Newberry said.
Post 28 continued its trend of falling way behind early. Going back to last week's first-round series, Spartanburg allowed 32 opening-inning runs in eight games. Its starting pitcher Wednesday faced 11 batters, allowing seven hits and three walks.
"This was what we've been leading up to," Newberry said. "The past two weeks have been very tough for all of us to take. You want to be hot in the playoffs. We went in the opposite direction. Trying to work out of a funk in the postseason is something that's almost impossible to do."
Spartanburg, which went undefeated in its league during the regular season and entered the playoffs at 18-1, still has a chance to make the eight-team state finals tournament next week at Winthrop.
The three losers of this week's second-round Upper State games compete in a play-in event. Post 28 will have to win two straight games, beginning Saturday, with site and opponents to be determined.
"The way we've been playing," Newberry said, "it's going to be a challenge."
At least Spartanburg will be able to deal its ace in the next hand. David Haselden, who pitched two innings last Thursday and started on Friday, was unable to take the hill against Rock Hill.
"That was tough for Spartanburg," Knight said. "But I think when the American Legion created the five-game format, it was to make sure that the best teams make the state tournament, not just the teams with one or two great pitchers."
Rock Hill hit two grand slams. Kyle Glass had one in the second inning to make it 14-0 and Cam Walters had one in the fourth to make it 21-1. Walters was 3-for-5 with a double and six runs batted in. Glass also had a double and five RBIs. Taylor Wallace was 3-for-4 and scored three runs.
So much for Rock Hill coming in without an edge. Post 34, with an automatic berth in the state finals tournament secured because it will be the host team, was not content to back into the championship round.
"The first year we hosted it, there might have been a little of that," Knight said. "But this year, we were playing for a high seed. That was the goal here."