FORT MILL -- Rock Hill's baseball game at Fort Mill on Friday was moved up an hour to 5 p.m. to get it in before the rainstorms arrived.
The Bearcats came out playing like there would be no tomorrow. After the first two batters were retired, Rock Hill scored three runs on four hits in the top of the first on its way to a 7-2 win.
Fort Mill starter Jimmy Moody sat down leadoff hitter Casey Seay on a fly ball and retired Jeff Bowers on a grounder to second. After the third Bearcats runner crossed the plate, Moody was pulled in favor of sophomore Alex Tomasovich. The first batter he faced flew out to right to end the inning.
Although it wasn't as easy as he would have liked, Rock Hill lefty Jesse Brewer held the Yellow Jackets at bay. Brewer, a sophomore, was relieved by Seth Rainey after loading the bases in the last of the seventh.
"I had put a lot of Fort Mill players on base tonight, but I was never worried," Brewer said. "Our defense played well behind me, and I knew they would make plays.
"I got tired in the seventh because I threw over 100 pitches. My arm feels good right now, but I'm sure it'll be hurting in the morning."
The win was a big one for Rock Hill, which held onto third place in Region 3-AAAA at 6-3. The Bearcats (11-7) are one game behind rival Northwestern, which hosts Rock Hill at 1 p.m. today, weather permitting.
Fort Mill (8-7) fell to 4-6 in the region and is in fifth place.
"We dug ourselves a big hole," Fort Mill coach Brad Mercer said. "They went up 7-1 and it's not easy coming back from a six-run deficit. It's do or die for us. We have to win out for any chance of making the playoffs."
Rock Hill got all the runs it needed in the top of the first.
With two outs, Seth Neely drew a walk. Ross Lisee doubled and scored Neely. Stewart Curry reached on an infield single to load the bases.
Designated hitter Josh Bowers singled home Jeremy McCoy, in to run for Lisee, and Logan Cribb's double knocked in Curry for a 3-0 Bearcats lead.
The Yellow Jackets stranded 11 runners, out-hit the Bearcats 10-9 and got their first run in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded. Brewer uncorked a wild pitch and Fort Mill designated hitter Eli Windham, who led off the frame with a single, easily scored from third.
The Bearcats scored three more runs in the top of the second. The big blow was Lisee's second hit, a two-run double.
"It's not about me," said Lisee, a sophomore catcher. "I was trying to help my team because this was a big game. If we keep winning, it will help us get a higher seed in the playoffs."
Rock Hill scored its final run in the fourth when Jeff Bowers singled Brantley Rumford home.
Fort Mill's last run came in its last at-bat. Rainey was greeted by Michael Baker's single that knocked Garrett Copeland home and reloaded the bases with one out.
The next batter, Shane Whitman, sent a grounder to Neely at shortstop. He flipped the ball to Rumford, who stepped on the bag at second before turning and firing a strike to Curry at first base to complete a game-ending double play.
"We swung the bats really good and got a good defensive effort," Rock Hill coach Eddie Hill said. "The key for us was that the people at the bottom of our order got some big hits.
"I'm proud of how our kids played. This was an important win because it kept us in third place and we can get a better playoff seed if we continue to play well."
By the way, they beat the rain.