The magic is back, but can it hold?
Rock Hill American Legion Post 34 scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth, three with two outs, and stayed alive in the state tournament at The Winthrop Ballpark at least for another day with its 5-4 victory over Georgetown Post 114.
The win was reminiscent of last year, when Post 34 dropped its first game in Sumter and fought back through the losers' bracket for a berth in the championship game.
Rock Hill plays Sumter, the defending state champ, today at 4 p.m. The loser is eliminated. Post 34 lost its opening game, 6-4 to Lancaster.
"Everybody got their money's worth tonight,'' Rock Hill coach Steve Knight said. "We made a couple of moves that paid off, especially in the last inning.
"Cole has been fighting an injury all season, but he's been with us a long time. I told him to get in there and hit it, and he did.''
That would be Cole Glass, who was put in as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Georgetown replaced staring pitcher Tyler Vick with Josh McElwee to start the frame. He just didn't have it, and let the 4-1 lead Post 114 held slip away.
Tyler Lehman drew a leadoff walked, followed by a single to left by Taylor Wallace. McElwee struck out Brent Oakes, but walked Casey Seay and loaded the bases.
Lehman scored on a wild pitch and McElwee fanned Cam Walters for the second out. Russell Cook walked and the bags were jammed again. Kyle Glass, Cole's twin brother, was hit by a pitch, forcing Wallace home and cutting Georgetown's lead to 4-3.
Will Madsen reached on an infield single, sending Seay to the plate and tying the game. Starting pitcher Josh Salay stepping in and drilled a single up the middle that chased Cook home for the winning run.
Salay, who has been hot as frying pan grease in the playoffs, had an off night. He was pulled in the seventh, and Cook went in to pitch. Salay's line was 13 strikeouts, six hits, four walks and four runs, two unearned.
"I felt like I had it early, but the second inning rolled around, and it felt like my adrenaline was going,'' Salay said. "I had an off night because I was throwing instead of pitching.
"But I made up for it in the ninth inning and couldn't have done it without my teammates getting on base. I was looking for a fastball, but he three me a dirty curve. I stayed with it and hit the ball up the middle.''
Georgetown's Vick was rolling along through eight innings. The only run he allowed came in the fifth, when Oakes blasted a double to right and scored on Cook's two-out single.
Vick got the support he needed from timely hitting and help from Rock Hill, which made four errors. The first allowed Kevin Rufus to score from third. McElwee struck out but the ball got away. Wallace ran it down and threw to first to get the out, but Rufus raced home well ahead of the relay back to the plate.
Rufus struck again in the fifth after reaching on a fielder's choice. He moved all the way to third on a pair of errant pick-off plays and scored on McElwee's deep fly-ball out to right.
Leading 2-1, Georgetown appeared to put the game away in the top of the seventh with two more runs. Levi George and Rufus, who reached on an infield hit, scored when J.D. Glisson drilled a double to right.
Cook relieved Salay and didn't allow a hit the rest of the way.
• 10 a.m. Gaffney vs. Lancaster (elimination game)
• 4 p.m. Rock Hill vs. Sumter (elimination game)
• 7 p.m. Florence vs. Richland (winners' bracket game)
• Results, schedule • 3D