Fort Mill Times

Stingers come alive after 3-0 home stand

Stingers third baseman Joaquin Valdes keeps his eyes on a ground ball during the team's home win against Asheville Friday night.
Stingers third baseman Joaquin Valdes keeps his eyes on a ground ball during the team's home win against Asheville Friday night.

After a slow start, the Carolina Stingers, Fort Mill's Southern Collegiate League baseball team, used a 3-0 home stand last week and a two-game split at Lake Norman Saturday to get back on track.

The wins boosted their record to 6-8.

Indian Land native Shawn Thomas and Naval Academy student Luke Roberts pitched solid back-to-back six-inning games for the Stingers in a home doubleheader against an Asheville, N.C., team Friday, as Fort Mill swept the series and posted its season's first three-game winning streak.

"I felt pretty good," Roberts said after picking up the win.

Roberts, now 2-0 on the year, pitched a complete-game shutout in a win against Lake Norman earlier in the week.

He said he has been learning a lot so far this summer by playing on the team.

"It's been tough - I've definitely had to make quality pitches and work to get outs," Roberts said. "But, that's something that's good for me to work on for school."

"He's been doing really well; Both him and Shawn Thomas are two of our top pitchers," Head Coach Cliff Allred said about Roberts. "Pretty much anyone I've put out there can get the job done for us. I have a lot of confidence in these guys."

After beginning the season 2-7, the Stingers have won four out of their last five and Allred said the team is beginning to come together.

"It's early in the season and we're already getting clutch hits. I'm proud of these guys - they compete hard," he said. "They are starting to figure me out and I'm starting to figure them out. It's going well."

Joe Mangum, a sophomore at UNC-Pembroke, has been a steady contributor at the plate, according to Allred, and had four hits during the last home win against Asheville.

"I'd put our top eight or nine guys up against a lot of teams- we're going to be tough," Allred said. "Every team in this league is very talented and very well coached. Each game just depends on who can put it together for seven innings."

The Stingers will travel to Tennessee for a doubleheader against the Tornados on Thursday, and will be at Fort Mill High School Friday for a doubleheader against the Morganton Aggies. The first game begins at 5 p.m.

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