The opening round of the American Legion Junior Baseball playoffs are complete, and York, Lancaster, and Rock Hill won and moved to the second round best-of-three series next week.
York sweeps Inman
York Post 66, the League V champion, swept Inman in a pair of close contests.
York won the first game at Inman on Monday night by a count of 5-4. Andy Fulk led Post 66 with two hits and four RBI. His two-run triple in the fifth broke a 1-1 tie for a 3-1 lead. After Inman tied it in the sixth, he added a two-run single in the seventh for a 5-3 cushion. Seth Franklin knocked in York’s first run with a single in the second frame.
Britton Adams earned the win. He worked six innings and allowed three runs, with only two being earned. Hunter Latham earned a save by getting the final three outs in the game.
York beat Inman 7-3 in the second game on Tuesday night in York.
Inman scored one in the first and added another in the fifth for a 2-0 lead. Post 66 rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-2 lead.
Fulk led the offense with three hits and a pair of RBI. Jack Peeler and Ashton Shannon both had two hits and drove in one run. Lamar Petties added two hits and scored a pair of runs.
York executed the little things. In the five-run fifth frame, Alex Morrison avoided the tag at home plate with a great slide on a run-scoring single. That resulted in the go-ahead run for a 3-2 lead. Later in the same inning, Peyton Reel executed a perfect squeeze bunt to plate the final run in the rally and give York a 5-2 cushion. They added two insurance runs in the sixth.
Latham picked up the victory in relief. He worked two and two-third innings and allowed only one run.
“We had some outstanding individual performances in both games,” said York head coach Matthew Deegan. “Both wins were great team efforts. We played excellent defense, got timely hits, and did the little things that add up for big wins. We just need to continue to stay focused and do the little things.”
York will open the second round of play at home on Monday against the winner of the Lexington Navy-Aiken series.
Lancaster wins in three games over Gaffney
Lancaster Post 31, the League V runner-up, gave Gaffney a 1-0 lead in the best of three series and stormed back with two wins to advance.
After Gaffney won the opening game 10-0 in Lancaster on Monday night, Lancaster regrouped and claimed a 5-0 win in the second game and closed out the series with an 8-1 decision in the third contest.
Post 31 evened the series with the shutout win on Tuesday at Gaffney. They made the most of five hits and got a complete game pitching performance from Landon Deese.
Lancaster led 3-0 after three frames, and they tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh. Gavin Phillips led the Post 31 attack with two hits and three RBI. He drove in both runs in the seventh. Tyler Vespe added two hits to the winning cause.
Deese was in command from the opening pitched. He allowed only three hits.
Lancaster claimed the series with another solid victory on Wednesday night in Lancaster.
Post 31 scored two in the first and added four more in the second for a quick 6-0 lead. Gaffney cut it to 6-1 with a run in the fourth, but Lancaster closed out the scoring with two more in the fifth for a 8-1 cushion.
Post 31 managed only four hits, but they took advantage of eight walks and four Gaffney errors. Vespe led the attack with two hits. Phillips added a hit and drove in three runs. He knocked in both runs in the opening frame, and drove in another in the second inning on an infield grounder that was misplayed.
Chas Debruhl gave Post 31 its second straight solid pitching performance. He allowed only two hits and struck out five in the complete game outing.
“When we have our minds set right, we can play with anybody,” said Lancaster head coach Dickie Howard. ”I was proud of the way we bounced back in the second and third games after our poor showing in the opening contest on Monday night. We had a great team effort in the second and third games.”
Lancaster will play the winner of the Mid-Carolina-Richland series in the second round.
Rock Hill sweeps Spartanburg
Rock Hill Post 34, the third place team in League V, swept Spartanburg Post 28, the League IV champion, to make its way to the second round of play.
Rock Hill won the opening game 18-13, and came back in game two for a 1-0 victory.
Post 34 won the opening contest in Spartanburg on Monday night. They pounded out 10 hits and took full advantage of 15 walks to claim the high-scoring win.
Rock Hill broke a 3-3 tie with two runs in the top of the fifth. They added five more in the sixth, but Spartanburg got four in the bottom of the frame, and Post 34 led 10-7. Rock Hill exploded for eight more in the seventh and held of a Spartanburg rally in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.
Cayden Towell led the Rock Hill attack with two hits and four RBI. Michael Gibson added two hits and drove in a pair of runs. Levi Lockridge contributed two hits, while Kobe Thurmond added one hit and drove in a pair of runs.
Thurmond was the winning pitcher in the opening game for Post 34.
The second contest on Tuesday night in Rock Hill was a completely different game. Rock Hill rode a superb pitching performance by Sydney Mullennix and picked up a 1-0 win.
Mullennix was dialed in from the opening pitch. He tossed a complete game, scattering six hits and striking out four.
Rock Hill got the game’s only run in the sixth. After one out, Coleman Van Sickle, who led Post 34 with two hits, and Cody Craig both singled. After two outs, Lockridge singled to centerfield, and Van Sickle scored from second base for the winning run.
“We displayed a total team effort in both games,” said Rock Hill head coach Kelly Clayton. “Mullennix was superb in game two. He threw only 82 pitches.”
Post 34 will host Lexington Red in the second round of play on Monday night.