FORT MILL — A diet of steady pitching and clutch hitting helped propel the Nation Ford Falcons to a 7-2 baseball win over the York Cougars in Region III action Wednesday.
Falcons starter Dalton Helms had good command of his pitches to start in the first inning, allowing his defense to work behind him after walking a batter. Helms was steady both on the mound and at the plate for the Falcons.
“We are hitting the ball well,” said Nation Ford coach Mike Matkovich. “Dalton pitched a heck of a game. Everyone contributed one way or another.”
Nation Ford wasted no time getting on the board as Brandon Fite reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double by Clay Hunt in the bottom of the first.
York pitcher Will Prince led off the second inning singling to right field. However, the Cougars grounded into a double play after Helms struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.
Falcons catcher Nick Hoffman walked in the second and pinch-runner Alex Stennett was thrown out at home on a squeeze bunt that didn’t turn out as planned.
In the top of the third, York lead-off batter Joe Gill singled with two outs and then reached third on a passed ball to threaten for the Cougars.
However, Helms got John Moorefield to fly out to centerfield to end the threat.
Nation Ford’s Connor Green walked in the bottom of the third and stole second, before eventually reaching third. Hunt then was hit by a pitch, which put runners on the corners for the Falcons.
Helms helped his own cause by hitting a bases clearing double, scoring two and giving Nation Ford room to exhale.
In the bottom of the fourth, Nation Ford added another run as Hoffman singled to get things started for the Falcons. Pinch-runner Stennett scored from second on an RBI single from Justin Borland. Nation Ford kept things moving as Green singled in Borland and Fite doubled, driving in Green.
Prince exited in favor of York reliever Luke Green. Prince went 3 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits. Green got the job done, getting the next two Falcons out to end the inning.
York threatened in the fifth, but again the Nation Ford defense held strong. The Cougars stranded a runner on third.
The Falcons added a run in the bottom of the fifth with the help of a couple walks and a couple errors from York.
The Cougars got their first run of the game in the sixth after Helms allowed the first two batters to reach.
A passed ball then allowed Hoffman to score later in the inning and an RBI double from Harrison Childers scored Moorefield.
York got thrown out at home trying to plate a third run in the inning, halting its chance for any more of a rally.
Helms worked six innings before Cole Avery came on in the seventh.
Helms allowed five hits, while striking out four and walking three to get the win.
Avery pitched a hitless seventh to close out the game for Nation Ford.
Nation Ford 7, York 2
Will Prince, Luke Green (4) and Harrison Childers (Y); Dalton Helms, Cole Avery (7) and Nick Hoffman (NF). W – Dalton Helms, L – Will Prince. 2B – Harrison Childers (Y), Brandon Fite (NF), Clay Hunt (NF), Dalton Helms (NF). LOB – York 6, Nation Ford 5.
Records: York 4-9, 1-7 Region III-AAAA; Nation Ford 6-7, 5-3 Region III-AAAA.