Timely hitting from the top of the Nation Ford lineup was key in the 6-4 extra-inning road victory over their crosstown rival Fort Mill.
All 10 of the Falcons' hits came from their top three hitters in their batting order as sophomore Kyle Whitman led Nation Ford (6-5, 3-2 Region 3-AAAA) going 4-4 with an insurance RBI in the top of the eighth inning.
Leadoff hitter senior Ben Boykin went 3-5 with a key two-run home run and senior Spencer Yarnell drove in the would-be winning run with an RBI single in the eighth as well, as he also went 3-5.
With two out in the eighth inning, Boykin would single to put runners on first and second. Yarnell would then drive Boykin in to give Nation Ford the go-ahead run. Whitman would knock in Boykin giving the Falcons the 6-4 lead before Yarnell would get picked off to end the inning trying to go to third base.
"With two outs, that is some clutch hitting," Nation Ford coach Dell Corley said. "That is what you want."
On the mound, sophomore Cameron Wells got the win going four innings in relief and allowing just three hits, while striking out seven Fort Mill hitters.
With runners on first and second in the bottom of the seventh, Fort Mill would leave those two runners stranded as the next three hitters would get out. Nation Ford faced a similar situation in the eighth inning, as Wells loaded the bases by allowing a double to senior Alex Tomasovich, who went 2-4 to help lead Fort Mill, and a single by sophomore Preston Fry. Wells then walked pinchhitter Jacob Brown, before striking out the next three Jacket hitters with the help of a looping curve ball.
"We had some tough situations," Corley said. "Defensively, I have to tip my hat to all the kids. Cameron did a great job on the hill."
Both team started things off slow. Nation Ford got one hit in the top of the first, a single by Whitman, but didn't have any more hits until the third inning.
In the third inning, Nation Ford scored its first two runs on three hits, with the runs coming on a two-run home run by Boykin. Junior Steven Taggart reached on an error from Fort Mill and several pitches later Boykin sent the ball sailing over the right field fence.
Fort Mill (8-5, 2-3 Region 3-AAAA) would come back to produce their only offense of the game in the bottom of the third inning scoring four runs on four hits.
"We just aren't finishing," Fort Mill coach Brad Mercer said. "It was our game to win two or three times. We just didn't execute at times. We are very passive at the plate."
Junior Cody Moody walked to reach first and then back to back singles from senior Jacob Pizzuto and sophomore Garrett Ray loaded the bases. Junior Kody Hartley sacrifice fly scored Fort Mill's first run and was followed by a RBI double from senior Jordan Griffin.
Griffin's double was followed by a two-run singled from Tomasovich to give the Jackets a 4-2 lead.
In the top of fourth inning, Nation Ford added another run with a sacrifice fly from Wells to make it 4-3.
Nation Ford would tie the game in the seventh inning as junior Austin Hicks would drive in Boykin.
NATION FORD 6
FORT MILL 4
Fort Mill: Spencer Allison, Kody Hartley(5) and Cody Moody. Nation Ford: Austin Hicks, Cameron Wells (4) and Ben Boykin. W - Wells. L- Hartley. 2B - Fort Mill: Jordan Griffin, Alex Tomasovich. HR- Nation Ford: Ben Boykin.
Records: Nation Ford 6-5 (3-2 Region 3-AAAA), Fort Mill 8-5 (2-3 Region 3-AAAA).