After a bad showing in the first game of the best of five series in the first-round of the playoffs, Fort Mill Post 43 bounced back to win three straight against Spartanburg Post 28 to advance in the American Legion playoffs.
Post 43 won the series 3-1 and will now face Gaffney Post 109 in the second round with a shot at a state tournament berth for the second straight year. Fort Mill went into the Spartanburg series with their highest ranking ever at No. 2 in the state and are now 14-3 on the season.
“Our guys know Gaffney always is a competitive and well coached team,” said Post 43 head coach Tom Skula. “We need to carry the momentum and mindset from the series win against Spartanburg into next week.”
After being shutout 10-0 in game one of the Spartanburg series, Fort Mill bounced back to win game two 9-1 at historic Duncan Park in Spartanburg. Post 43 then won game three back home in dramatic fashion after trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning.
In that game, James Mulvaney reached on an error to start the seventh inning and Bartow Keller singled, before Justin Kerosetz was walked to load the bases with two outs. Joey Tepper then delivered a walk-off single to score Mulvaney and Kerosetz for the game winner. Noah Griffin went the distance on the mound in game three allowing three runs on five hits and striking out three.
“I was really concerned coming into the series that it had been over a week since we last played a game,” Skula said. “We were really rusty and flat out terrible in game one. We were not seeing the ball really well and we were going back to some habits that I thought we got rid of earlier in the season. The rest of the series was a different story. We changed our whole mindset going into game two and really played an all-around complete ball game.”
The series clinching win was back in Spartanburg and Post 43 stayed focused despite an hour and 41-minute rain delay in the middle of the fourth inning. Fort Mill would win game four 10-5 and scored six runs off four hits in the fourth, with three of those runs coming after the rain delay.
Greg Izzo and Alex Stennett led at the plate as they each went 3-5. Izzo drove in three runs and Stennett had a triple in the third inning. Tepper went 2-4 with an RBI.
Fort Mill scattered 14 hits in the final game of the series and got four strong innings from Matt Levy, who allowed four hits and one run. Izzo finished the game, pitching the final inning and two-thirds. He allowed two hits and a run, while striking out three.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @MacBanksFM