Nation Ford relief pitcher Noah Petty warms up before he saved the game for the Falcons in a 4-2 win over Stratford on Saturday afternoon at Shipyard Park outside of Charleston (Photo courtesy of Keith Cooke).

Nation Ford took to the field on Day 2 of the Prep Baseball Report Shipyard Showdown after a hard fought win on Friday afternoon against defending 1A state champion McBee. Staring the Falcons down was Stratford, from Goose Creek, who some experts believe is one of the best 5A teams in the state, just like Nation Ford.

Would the Falcons have enough after a tough win just 18 hours before?

It appeared so in the first inning, as the Falcons drew first blood. Bradley Bott singled and pitcher Hudson Mankin doubled him in with a shot to deep right field. But as we know with baseball, anything can happen and it did. The Knights responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, when leadoff hitter Dylan Stewart reached on a single and was moved around and eventually brought home by Travis Lott on a ground out to second base.

The Knights then tacked on another run and took the lead in the second inning when Matthew Cudd walked, and after a pair of wild pitches to get him over to third base, and Stewart brought him home on a sacrifice fly to Falcons shortstop Tyler Causey. And like how things happened against McBee, that’s about all she wrote for the Knights. Nation Ford took the lead for good in the third inning when Causey tripled to deep right field, scoring Xavier Cumbee. Next, Causey scored on a screaming single past third base by Bott.

Although the Knights kept threatening during the rest of the game, the Falcons defense did the job to preserve the win. After a rocky fourth inning by starter Mankin, Noah Petty came in the get out of a jam with men on second and third. The Knights then had two more base runners in the fifth, failing to plate either. Then, in the sixth inning, the Falcons’ Causey gloved a ball deep in the hole at short and looked like Derek Jeter with a jump throw to first baseman Mitch Kyzer, who scooped up the throw to leave a Knight base runner at third. If ESPN had been at the ballpark at Shipyard Park, Causey and Kyzer would have received a Web Gem.

The seventh inning provided a lot of drama as well. In the Falcons’ half, Bott again came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle, scoring Cumbee. That run could have saved the Falcons’ day. In the last half of the seventh, the Knights loaded the bases with no outs, but Petty saved the game with some well-placed pitches to get two batters to line out and the last batter to hit a ground ball back to Petty. The Falcons won, 4-2.

With the win, the Falcons start the season at 2-0. The win also clinched the Falcons’ appearance in the Championship Game against Byrnes at 11:30 am at Shipyard Park on Sunday.

Before the title contest, Nation Ford will play their third pool game against Indian Land, who fell to 0-3 on the season with a loss to Byrnes, 5-2, and a loss to McBee, 7-2. The first pitch against the Warriors, who are just 11 miles from Nation Ford, is set for 9 am.