Fort Mill Post 43 combined 11 hits with wildness by Will Chitwood and shaky defense from Rock Hill Post 34 to gain a 15-4 American Legion win Thursday night at Fort Mill High.
Josh Jones also went 5 innings for Fort Mill and only allowed two runs – on a Colton Pagoota home run – while striking out six and walking none. It was the Legion season’s first game for Post 34 after Rock Hill and Northwestern made deep runs into the high school playoffs. It was the fifth game for Post 43 as it moved to 4-1.
Chitwood, who pitched a no-hitter against the Bearcats in the playoffs and beat them again in the Upper State title game, had control problems all night. He walked six and hit a batter in 2 1/3 innings and gave up nine runs on six hits.
The contest was an intriguing matchup of two teams comprised mostly of players from the two schools in Rock Hill and the two in Fort Mill, who made up four of the final 16 teams in the state playoffs. Rock Hill eliminated Fort Mill and Northwestern eliminated Rock Hill in the playoffs.
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Fort Mill scored four in the second on three hits and two walks. Brett Netzer’s two-run double to left-center field was the key hit in the inning. He reached base safely four times, adding another double, and scored three times.
In the top of the third, Jake Windham threw out Post 34’s Drew Patrick trying to score from third on a grounder to third. Patrick tried to run over catcher Justin Tepper and was ejected from the game. Pagoota followed with his home run to right to cut the lead in half.
However, Post 43 tacked on five more in the bottom half. A walk started it, before a bouncing ball behind second that the shortstop could not handle, put another runner on. There was another walk and a wild pitch in the inning while Mason Jordan and Jones had run-scoring hits as well.
Jordan’s scored two and gave him three RBIs. In the fifth, four hits, including three doubles, and two more errors, led to five more Fort Mill runs. Rock Hill had four errors total. Tepper had an RBI-single and Alex Endler and Jake Windham had run-producing doubles in the inning. Endler had three RBIs and reached base three times, as did Tepper. Cole Avery was 2-for-3 and hit by a pitch.
In the sixth, Fort Mill’s Scott Ritchie walked, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and and sped home on a shallow foul-pop to third to just avoid the tag for Post 43’s final run.
Post 34 threatened to extend the game past the seventh inning by scoring two in the top half. Bradley Kirkman doubled and then scored on Trent Autry’s monster home run to left. Autry was 2-for-4. Cody Edkins reached base all four at-bats for Rock Hill and Cameron Smith was 1-for-2 and hit by a pitch.
Fort Mill 15, Rock Hill 4
Josh Jones, Cole Avery, and Curley. Will Chitwood, Fuller Wilson, Jonathon Smith, and Stadler Poe. WP - Jones. LP - Chitwood. Records: Fort Mill 4-1; Rock Hill 0-1.