Josh Salay tossed a complete game, scattering five hits, and Rock Hill Post 34 pounded out 13 hits to register a 12-1 victory over Walhalla Post 124 in the opening round of the American Legion State playoffs Monday night at The Winthrop Ballpark.
Salay was dominant in the contest, which was called after seven inning due to the 10-run rule. Salay struck out nine and walked four. He was in command of all of pitches all night.
With the exception of the second inning when he got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam by allowing only run, he was never in any trouble.
"He has pretty much been doing this all year," Rock Hill head coach Steve Knight said. "He really was sharp for us tonight. I thought he got stronger as the game went along."
While Salay was shutting down the Walhalla bats, Rock Hill was busy at the plate. Six of the 13 hits were for extra bases. Post 34 had one double, four triples, and a home run.
"We have been up and down all year at the plate," added Knight, whose team improved to 13-8. "I am hoping that this is the beginning of a good stretch for us. I am hoping that this is a sign that we are peaking at the right time."
After both teams were retired in order in the first inning, Walhalla got its only run in the second. Justin Merck walked, Adam Woot singled, and Ben Sheriff walked to load the bases. When Major Henderson worked Salay for a walk, Merck scored to make it 1-0.
Rock Hill countered with two runs in the bottom of the second. Triples by Russell Cook and Tyler Lehman tied the contest at 1-1. Brent Oakes' triple made it 2-1 and Rock Hill never looked back.
Post 34 added two more in the third. Ryan Cox opened the frame with a single and came around to score when Henderson misplayed Cam Walters' line drive to right.
Kyle Glass plated Walters with a sacrifice fly to deep left field for a 4-1 Rock Hill lead after three innings.
Post 34 broke the game open with eight runs in the fifth. Glass and Cook singled, and Lehman walked to load the bases with no one out.
Will Madsen's double that hugged the third-base line cleared the bases for a 7-1 Rock Hill advantage. Oakes tripled to drive in Madsen and Casey Seay singled. That made it 9-1.
Cox singled, and Walters capped the big rally with a three-run home run to deep right. That upped the count to 12-1.
Salay retired the side in order in the sixth, and allowed only base runner in the seventh to close out the game.
The highlight of the seventh for Post 34 was a diving catch in foul territory in right fielder by Oakes.
"That play showed how hard everyone on this team played tonight," Knight said. "We were up by 11 runs, and we were still getting that kind of hustle on a foul ball."
Rock Hill will take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series to Walhalla tonight 7:30. Game three will be in Rock Hill on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.
"We were a little rusty tonight," Walhalla coach Ed Taylor said. "We have not played in a week and it showed."
The Post 124 coach is not conceding anything despite the first-game loss.
"We have played from behind all year long," Taylor added. "I am confident in our team's ability."
Rock Hill 12