FORT MILL — The Fort Mill High softball program started its season with three games in four days and ending the jam-packed first week with a two-day tournament in Lexington.
Fort Mill opened the Lexington tourney with a 3-2 win over Hillcrest in eight innings. The Lady Jackets also beat the tourney host 4-3 on Saturday, before falling to Airport 2-1.
However, the Lady Jackets’ lost to rivals Nation Ford 5-2 in the tournament in a game that would have put the team in the championship against North Davidson. Despite the loss, Fort Mill finished fourth out of 16 teams at the Wildcat Invitational.
The Lady Jackets opened its season by beating Chester 7-4 with eighth-grade pitcher Bella Roy going the distance, allowing seven hits and four runs, while walking none and striking out two in her first varsity start.
Fort Mill was also helped by some key hits from second baseman Taylor Rayborn, who went 1-4 with a three-run home run, and Julia Rajcok, who went 3-3 with three singles.
Fort Mill is a young squad this year with just three seniors.
“We are going to have a good squad, we just have to get past our youth,” said Lady Jackets coach Chuck Stegall. “We have got to get our young ones game experience. They are players, but they are young.”
Against Chester, Roy cruised the first couple innings until the Lady Jackets offensively could help her out. In the second inning, catcher Lauren Collie led off the inning with a single and first baseman Kennedy Wolf reached on a walk, before Rayborn launched the three-run shot.
In the third inning, Fort Mill added two more runs as Rajcok singled to start things off and Shelby Alexander reached on an error. Rajcok scored on a sacrifice from Collie and Roy aided her own cause with an RBI single to score Alexander.
The Lady Jackets added a run in the fifth and the sixth, with the help of Chester errors in both innings.
Chester cracked the board in the sixth off of two singles and an error from Fort Mill. Stegall saw some of that youth come into play in the seventh inning, when two more errors by the Lady Jackets helped to lead to two more Chester runs.
Against Clover, Fort Mill struggled losing 16-2, but bounced back against York for an 8-3 win.
The Lady Jackets had a big second inning when the team scored five runs. The team scattered 14 hits in the game.
Again, some late game pressure on Fort Mill allowed York to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the Lady Jackets held on for the win.
Danielle Gibson led at the plate for Fort Mill going 3-4 and scored twice. Collie, Alexander and Danielle Patton each went 2-4 and Wolf sent 2-3 scoring twice as well.
Alexander and Rayborn each had RBIs, as did Roy, who again got the win for Fort Mill by pitching four shutout innings.