Lancaster Post 31 continued its mastery over Rock Hill Post 34 with a 6-4 win in the first round of the American Legion state tournament Thursday at The Winthrop Ballpark.
An estimated crowd of more than 600 fans watched Lancaster beat Rock Hill for the fifth straight time after four regular-season losses. The previous four were hard-fought and Thursday was no different.
Rock Hill jumped to a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single from Kyle Glass. Lancaster roared back with a five-run sixth, keyed by a two-run single from winning pitcher Marc Rape.
Rape hit a bases-loaded bloop single into left field to plate Will Faulkenberry and Jon Lewis with the go-ahead runs. The hit came off Rock Hill starter Cam Walters, who had set down 10-of-11 hitters prior to the sixth.
Rock Hill (18-9) will play at 7:30 p.m. today against Georgetown in the losers' bracket, a familiar position. Post 34 came out of the losers' bracket in the double-elimination tournament a year ago and made it to the championship game before falling to host Sumter.
Lancaster (26-6) will face Richland, a 19-4 winner over Georgetown, at 1 p.m.
Rape went seven-plus innings and scattered six hits while striking out nine. Andy Gamble recorded the final four outs to earn the save.
Rock Hill left the bases loaded in the eighth inning after scoring two runs to make it 5-4. Tyler Lehman had an RBI single and Brent Oakes drew a bases-loaded walk before Casey Seay grounded out to end the threat.
Lancaster got an insurance run in the ninth when Wylie Simpson scored on Derek Parker's single to left field.
"We just didn't get key hits with runners on," Post 34 coach Steven Knight said. "We may have been pressing a little tonight but we've been here before and we know how to come back."
FLORENCE 16, GAFFNEY 11
Florence beat Gaffney in a slugfest in Game 1. Florence will face Sumter at 4 p.m. in the winners' bracket. Gaffney will play at 10 a.m. against Dalzell-Shaw.
SUMTER 11, DALZELL-SHAW 2
Sumter broke open a close game with timely hits to advance in the first round. Sumter is the defending state champion.
RICHLAND 19, GEORGETOWN 4
Richland scored 11 runs in the sixth inning and went on to defeat Georgetown 19-4 in seven innings. Richard Mounce homered twice and Kirk Sims added a three-run shot for the Pathfinders.