The Northwestern Trojans defeated Richland Northeast of Columbia 9-1 Wednesday to advance to the Upper State finals of the Class 4A playoffs.
The Trojans, champions of District III, will play at cross-town rival Rock Hill Saturday night to begin the four-team, double-elimination Upper State finals. The other two teams are Fort Mill and T.L. Hanna.
Northwestern’s victory came in the second game Wednesday at the Trojans’ field. Richland Northeast forced the second game by defeating Northwestern 8-5 in the first contest.
The Cavaliers scored six runs in the fifth inning to rally for the first-game win.
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Earlier, the Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead in the second on a bases-loaded walk to Nick Getting, but the Trojans bounded back with five in the third to take the lead.
Two-run singles by Josh Crump and Colton Pagoota were the key hits in the rally, which included six hits, a walk, and a hit batter. Dupree Hart, Drew Patrick, Justin Peddy, and Eric Taylor also had singles for the Trojans.
The Cavaliers struck back to take the lead by scoring six times in the fifth. They got only two hits in the frame, but took advantage of three walks and a hit batter.
After Northwestern fell behind in the fifth, the Trojans had three chances to tie the contest but couldn’t do it.
Garrett Rast led off the fifth with a single, Cameron Smith started the sixth with a base hit, and Rast and Pagoota both reached in the seventh with no outs. In each inning, the Trojans failed to get any runs.
RNE added an insurance run in the sixth on a double to left by Zach Crumlich.
Noah Crumlich, the second of three RNE pitchers, picked up the win.