FORT MILL — If it seems like we have done this before, its because we have.
For the second straight year, Fort Mill and Northwestern battled in the finals of the Wheels Invitational baseball tournament. Last year, the Trojans won 3-2 in the finals, but this year it was Fort Mill that had Northwesterns number, handing the previously undefeated Trojans their first loss of the year by a score of 5-3.
The Jackets were led by senior pitcher Collin Quinn, who pitched a gem, allowing just three hits and a run through six innings while striking out three and not walking a single batter.
We had some great outings, said Fort Mill head coach Brad Mercer. Our pitching kept us in it. We are starting to get on a roll and that is a big thing.
Northwestern struck first as Trojans sophomore Dupree Hart led the game off with a double to left field. He was driven in two batters later on a sac fly by junior Josh Crump to put Northwestern up 1-0.
In the bottom of the first, Crump, playing centerfield, robbed Fort Mill senior Kevin Woods of a home run at the fence. When he jumped on the warning track, his thighs caught the top of the fence and he flipped over the fence in a summersault, but making the catch and still landing on his feet all in one motion, leading to a lot of gasps and applause by everyone in attendance.
As spectacular as the out was, Fort Mill was able to still bounce back as Trojans starter Jonathan Smith gave up two hits after the catch and senior Josh Turner drove in senior Jake Windham, who singled earlier in the inning.
Despite loading the bases, Smith was able to battle back and get out of the inning giving up just the one run.
Quinn settled down after the double by Hart to start the game. In fact, Quinn didnt give up another hit until Hart returned to the plate at the top of the third, where he singled. Hart would get to second on a balk from Quinn, but was stranded there.
Smith would help his cause in the fourth when he doubled to left field, but senior Cameron Norwood lined into an unassisted double play to Jackets shortstop Brett Netzer to again stall the Trojans momentum.
That momentum killer would come back to hurt Northwestern as the Jackets went off in the fourth inning.
Fort Mill junior Matt Navarro reached on an error to start the bottom half of the frame and senior Logan Pizzuto walked while Woods got his revenge by doubling to right field to score Navarro, giving the Jackets the lead at 2-1. Windham would then hit a double of his own scoring Pizzuto and Woods.
Junior Jaden Savage would then hit the third double in a row to knock in Windham as Fort Mill went up 5-1.
The Trojans would replace Smith in the top of the fifth with senior Will Chitwood, who allowed just one base runner in the inning, a single by Navarro.
Quinn would be pulled after the sixth inning for junior Jesse Horine. Northwestern would get to Horine, but solid defense would get Fort Mill out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh inning, but not before scoring two runs.
Fort Mill 5, Northwestern 3
Northwestern 100 000 2 3 5 2
Fort Mill 100 400 x 5 7 1
Jonathan Smith, Will Chitwood (5), Stuart Hodge (6) and JT Marion (NW); Collin Quinn, Jesse Horine (7) and Justin Tepper (FM). W Collin Quinn, L Jonathan Smith. 2B Dupree Hart (NW), Jonathan Smith (NW), Kevin Woods (FM), Jake Windham (FM), Jaden Savage (FM).
LOB: Northwestern 3, Fort Mill 8.
Leading hitters: Northwestern Dupree Hart 2-3 2B; Jonathan Smith 1-2 2B; JT Marion 1-3 RBI. Fort Mill Jake Windham 3-4 2B, 2 RBI; Jaden Savage 2-4 2B, RBI; Kevin Woods 1-3 2B, RBI.
Records: Northwestern 18-1, Fort Mill 10-8.
Clay Helvey Fort Mill JV
Jaden Savage Fort Mill
Kevin Woods Fort Mill
Collin Quinn Fort Mill
Josh Turner Fort Mill