FORT MILL — From being considered through with baseball after a bad freshman year at Winthrop University, former Fort Mill High Hamilton Bennett took a long journey back to the game that landed him on the New York Mets Class A team, the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2010.
Bennett was drafted in June in the 29th round out of Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tenn. He posted a 7-2 record with a 3.64 ERA his junior season at the school and also pitched a perfect game May 1 against the University of Virginia College at Wise, where he also struck out 14. He was the 20th pitcher in NAIA history to pitch a perfect game.
A graduate of Fort Mill High in 2007, he originally signed to play at Winthrop University. Bennett posted a 29-7 record during three years at Fort Mill High and won numerous awards at the local and state level.
He had been playing at Tennessee Wesleyan in the 2009 spring season. He played at Winthrop in 2008, but struggled and posted a 1-9 record. After his lackluster freshman year, Bennett left Winthrop and almost left the game all together.
From there, Bennett played his sophomore season at Surry Community College before transferring again to Tennessee Wesleyan, where he helped the team make it to the NAIA World Series. In his one season at Surry, Bennett was 4-3 in 11 appearances with a 3.10 ERA.
Once he got to Brooklyn, Bennett started to grow a mustache that caught on like wildfire for its less-than-full appearance. His popularity surged so much so that the team built a promotional night around him. On the field he posted a 2-2 record with a 3.49 ERA in 19 games in relief. He struck out 24 batters in 28 innings of work.
Another Fort Mill High pitcher, Bradley Blanks, joined Bennett in the minor leagues when he signed a deal with Philadelphia Phillies Class A team the Williamsport Crosscutters in July after playing independent baseball in the Frontier League. Blanks went 4-1 in 16 games with a 2.73 ERA for Williamsport last season.