FORT MILL — Former Fort Mill residents and now minor leaguers Hamilton Bennett and Kevin Woods are nearing the end of their respective seasons as they continue to plug away over the long summer months.
Woods is hitting .218 with a home run and four RBIs in 34 games for the Gulf Coast Marlins in the Gulf Coast League as part of the Miami Marlins’ rookie league team through Sunday. Woods, 18, was drafted in the fourth round (pick 112 overall) of the 2013 Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Miami Marlins in June.
He became the highest drafted player out of Fort Mill ever and joins a small group of less than a dozen Fort Mill High graduates to ever go on and play minor-league baseball. Woods signed with the Marlins’ organization for $459,200.
The first Fort Mill based player picked since Bennett was selected out of college in 2010, Woods is the first since 2003 to be selected straight from Fort Mill High. In his three years playing varsity baseball for Fort Mill, Woods hit .359 with 13 home runs and 59 RBIs in 81 games and had an on-base percentage of .548.
Bennett is currently with the Binghamton Mets, the Double-A team for the New York Mets.
In his fourth season with the organization, Bennett, a reliever, reached Double-A for the first time this year and is currently 0-0 with a 0.0 ERA in three games for Binghamton through Saturday.
He started the year in St. Lucie in the Florida State League and in Class A ball and was 3-0 there with a 1.96 ERA in 38 games before his promotion. He had 48 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched in St. Lucie, while allowing 39 hits, 12 walks and just 10 runs.
Bennett has a career 14-4 record in four seasons with a 2.29 ERA and has struck out 189 batters in 196.1 innings while allowing 152 hits and walking just 54.
Another local player in professional baseball on the independent circuit is pitcher Bradley Blanks.
Blanks is playing for the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association and is currently 5-1 on the year with a 1.38 ERA in 27 games through Saturday. He is in his second year with the Lemurs and went 3-1 last year splitting time between there and Huntsville, Ala., in Double-A as part of the Milwaukee Brewers organization.