Nation Ford’s baseball team had a great week last week, winning two of three games against some stiff competition.
The Falcons first went to 5A state championship contender Boiling Springs last Monday and lost a tough one 3-2 in nine innings. Last Wednesday, the Falcons took the road again and beat county neighbor Chester 13-1. Finally, last Thursday, the Falcons again traveled, this time to York for a 5-3 come from behind win over a team that is poised to make a championship run in the 4A classification.
In Boiling Springs, the Falcons went extra innings, but came up a little bit short. Falcons starting pitcher Jeffery Maidhof was strong, just as he has been all season long. Maidhof went eight innings of work, allowing six hits and striking out seven to increase his lead in the Region for strikeouts this season. The Falcons made a game of it in the sixth inning when third baseman Steven Johnson and Maidhof both drawing walks. Right fielder Keith Cooke III then laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line to load the bases. Second baseman Xavier Cumbee then walked, scoring Johnson.
A controversial play followed when first baseman Magdiel Cotto grounded to Bulldogs’ pitcher Zac Adkins, who flipped the ball to catcher Vance Wagner, cutting down pinch runner Nathan Mahaffey at the plate in a play in which Mahaffey appeared to get to the plate before the ball. Left fielder Brandon Stancil then popped out to second to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Bulldogs’ Mitchell Miller scored on a wild pitch to end the game. The loss sent the Falcons to their second straight loss.
On Wednesday, the Falcons snapped a two-game losing streak by pounding out eight hits in beating Chester 13-1. Pitcher Bradley Bott took a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Justin Lucas got a single in the fourth. Bott was masterful on the mound, striking out ten batters in four innings of work. Bott also worked well at the plate, getting two hits and scoring three times. Shortstop Tyler Causey doubled and tripled en route to a four RBI day at the plate. The Falcons were never in danger, scoring five times in the second inning to essentially put the game away.
The Falcons didn’t have much of a chance to rest, traveling to county rival York for a non-conference game on Thursday. The night was drizzly, making the game a little uncomfortable for fans and players alike. It looked like that quick turnaround was a bad sign for the Falcons, as York scored three times in the bottom of the third inning on RBI hits by the Cougars’ Nick Clayton, Ethan Mitchell and Caleb Benton. The Falcons then chipped away at the lead by scoring two runs in the fifth inning, thanks to a Bradley Bott single and Tyler Causey drawing a bases loaded walk, all coming with two outs. Then, in the sixth inning, with two outs, left fielder Keith Cooke III hit a two-run double, scoring first baseman Jeffery Maidhof and right fielder Nathan Mahaffey.
That proved to be the game winner, but in the seventh inning, shortstop Tyler Causey hit a 400-foot home run over the right field fence to provide some insurance for pitcher Magdiel Cotto, who took the win. Hudson Mankin worked one inning in relief to get the save for the Falcons. Nation Ford improved to 7-5 on the season.
Next up is a three game series with Clover, who has improved significantly over last year with an 8-4 record. The Blue Eagles look to improve on last year’s series in which Nation Ford outscored Clover 44-10 over the three-game series. Game one of the series was Monday March 25, at Nation Ford. The second game will be on Wednesday March 27, at Clover, before returning to Nation Ford on Friday, March 29, for the final of the three-game set. All games start at 6:00 pm.
Where is your team? We’re looking for volunteers who wouldn’t mind writing up summaries of local sports around Fort Mill and possibly adding a quick photo. Interested? Call or text us at 803-487-3224, or email [email protected]