Three area American Legion Junior teams were in action in the second round of the state playoffs earlier in the week, and all three are headed to the eight-team final round.
York, Lancaster, and Rock Hill earned a trip to the State Championship, which starts on Saturday in Inman.
York sweeps Lexington Navy
York Post 66 punched its ticket to the state tournament by topping Lexington Post 7 Navy two games to none.
York opened the best of three series on Monday at home with a 2-1 victory.
Post 66 got single runs in the first and second innings for a 2-0 lead. Lexington scored once in the sixth to cut the deficit to 2-1.
York made the most of six hits to earn the win. Seth Franklin led the Post 66 hitting attack with a triple and a double.
Hudson Robinson scored the first run for York on a sacrifice fly by Josh McSwain. Robinson knocked in the run in the second. His single scored Franklin, who tripled to open the inning.
Britton Adams worked six innings and recorded the victory. He allowed only five hits. Hunter Latham pitched the last inning and earned a save.
Post 66 completed the sweep on Wednesday night at Lexington.
They pounded out a dozen hits and recorded a 7-2 victory.
Post 66 scored twice in the first for a quick 2-0 lead. They added one more in the fifth to take a 3-0 advantage, but Lexington rallied in the bottom of the frame and cut the deficit to 3-2.
York responded with two runs in both the sixth and seventh frames to pull away for the win.
Franklin got two hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs. Peyton Reel also had two hits and two RBI.
Robinson, Ashton Shannon, and Jack Peeler also contributed two hits each to the Post 66 assault.
Two York pitchers combined for the win. Reel worked into the fifth and claimed the victory. He struck out four. Latham pitched the final two and two-thirds innings and earned a save.
“This team started the season 1-2. Since then they have been 15-2” said York head coach Matthew Deegan. “This group has really become a team. They trust each other. On any given night we have a new big performer, and this group sees each other’s success as their own.”
Lancaster sweeps Mid-Carolina
Lancaster Post 31 swept Mid-Carolina Post 24 to make its way to the state tournament.
Lancaster opened the second round on the road on Monday with a 4-2 win.
Post 31 scored twice in the top of the first for a quick 2-0 lead. Mid-Carolina cut the deficit in half with a run in the bottom of the frame.
Lancaster added a run in fourth and another in the sixth to take a 4-1 lead. Mid-Carolina rallied in the bottom of the seventh, but fell short. Brandon Doolittle’s single with two outs drove in a run to make it 4-2, but he was cut down at second base trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Ashton Phillips led Post 31 with three hits. Cannon Stoger added a pair of hits to the ten-hit attack by Post 31.
Landon Deese worked into sixth inning and recorded the win. Chas DeBruhl got the final four outs and earned a save.
Lancaster completed the sweep at home on Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory.
Post 31 broke a scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the fourth and added another in the fifth. Mid-Carolina’s only score came in the top of the seventh.
Bry Neal led Post 31 with two hits. Gavin Phillips added a double to aid the victory.
DeBruhl pitched a complete game. He allowed only four hits, struck out six, and needed only 92 pitches.
“This team has played well since we lost to Gaffney in the first game in the opening round series last week,” said Lancaster assistant coach Josh Low. “ I think that loss was a wake up call for this team. Since that terrible game we have playing together and playing for each other.”
Rock Hill tops Lexington Red in three games
Rock Hill Post 34 moved to the state tournament by beating Lexington Post 7 Red 2-1.
Rock Hill won the first game in the series at home on Monday night by a score of 3-0.
Post 34 took a 2-0 lead with a two-run rally in the third inning. They completed the scoring with a single run in the fifth.
Rock Hill manged only five hits, but they got them when they needed them. That timely hitting coupled with a solid pitching performance by Sydney Mullennix gave Post 34 a 1-0 lead in the series.
Mullennix pitched a complete game. He struck out eleven and was in complete command.
He led the hitting attack for Rock Hill with two hits and one RBI.
Lexington rebounded in the second game on Tuesday night in Lexington.
Post 7 earned a 6-1 victory and the series was knotted at 1-1.
Rock Hill took a hard-fought 5-4 win in the third game at Rock Hill Wednesday night.
Rock Hill took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, and it stayed that way until they added a run in the fifth for a 2-0 advantage. Lexington tied the game at 2-2 with two runs in the top of the sixth.
Rock Hill rallied for two in the bottom of the frame for a 4-2 advantage. Coleman Van Sickle’s two-run single gave Post 34 the two-run lead.
Lexington came back with two in the top of the seventh to tie it at 4-4 heading to the bottom of the inning.
Maddox Mobley’s bases loaded walk in the bottom of the inning scored Mullennix, who walked to open the inning. That gave Post 34 a walk-off win and a berth in the state tournament.
Van Sickle led Rock Hill with two hits and a pair of runs batted in. Ben Venables contributed two hits to Post 34’s eight-hit attack.
Rock Hill used three pitchers in the game. Michael Gibson worked the first four innings, Venables pitched the next two, and Cody Craig got the final three outs in the seventh and earned the win. The Post 34 pitchers combined to allow only one earned run in the game.
“We have fought our way back from being 2-5 at mid-season to a berth in the state tournament,” said Rock Hill head coach Kelly Clayton. “We figured out how to win and started playing together. The results have been great. I am really proud of our entire team for their effort in the post season.”
Post 34’s Buck Schwing is the director for League V. Three teams from the league in the state tournament is a first.
“This is a great showing for our league,” said Schwing, who has worked tirelessly to get the junior program going and showing improvement. “This shows that our league has really improved over the last couple of years, and that we are headed in the right direction. That is a tribute to the players and the coaches.”