Russell Cook tossed a five-hit shutout and Post 34 collected nine hits to register a 10-0 win over Walhalla Post 134 on Thursday in the opening round of the American Legion State baseball playoffs at The Winthrop Ballpark.
The game was called after seven innings because of the 10-run rule, and the win gave Post 34 a three-game sweep of Walhalla. Rock Hill will play the winner of the Spartanburg-Irmo series beginning on Monday.
If Spartanburg wins that series, the opening game will be played in Spartanburg. If Irmo wins, then Post 34 will host the first game of the best-of-five, second-round series.
Cook was superb on the mound all night. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter. He was in trouble in the second and third innings, but got out of both jams.
In the second inning, Walhalla had runners at second and third with one out. Cook struck out Matt Crowe and got Josh Taylor to fly out to center field to end the threat.
With two outs in the third, Post 134 got singles from Tim Fournier and Chad Gwin. Cook battled back and got Justin Merck on a groundout to shortstop.
"Cook did a very good job for us tonight," Post 34 coach Steve Knight said. "That gave us three complete games in this series."
After the third inning, Cook allowed only two base runners. Both reached on singles.
Rock Hill managed only nine hits, but they came at the right time. That is what coaches like to see.
"I thought that we hit the ball good in every game in this series," Knight said. "Tonight, I thought that we got hits when we needed them."
Post 34 opened the scoring with a run in the second without the aid of a hit.
Tyler Lehman walked with one out, moved to second on a hit batsman and to third on an error. He scored when Taylor Wallace grounded out to the shortstop.
Rock Hill made it 2-0 in the third inning. Ryan Cox walked with one out and scored when Cam Walters unloaded a triple to center field.
Post 34 broke the game open in the fifth with a four-run rally. The runs scored on four hits, two walks, and a Walhalla error.
With one out, Casey Seay walked and Cox singled. Walters' single plated Seay. Kyle Glass reached on an error, which allowed Cox to score.
Josh Salay singled to drive in Walters, and Lehman doubled to plate Glass. When the outburst was over, Rock Hill led 6-0.
Rock Hill ended the game in the seventh by tallying four more runs. Two hits, a sacrifice fly, and three more Post 134 errors accounted for the runs.
With one out, Salay and Lehman reached on errors. Will Madsen's fly ball to right field scored Salay to make it 7-0.
A double by Wallace scored Lehman and Brent Oakes' triple drove in Wallace.
Oakes scored when Seay reached on an error to account for the final score, and Post 34 moved to the next round.
"We gave up five walks, one hit batter, and made five errors tonight," Walhalla coach Ed Taylor said. "You are not going to beat anybody when you do that."
The win gives Rock Hill a 15-8 record on the season.
"We are coming together a little bit right now," Knight added. "We are beginning to play at the level I thought we could play at all year. If we continue to play to our potential, we will be OK."
Walhalla ends their season with a record of 11-9. They were the runner-up team in their league.
"Rock Hill is a good team," Taylor added. "They are not going to beat themselves. You have got to beat them."