Bengals Eliminate Gaffney, Travel to Ft. Mill Wednesday


Tripper Ergle, working in Saturday’s loss to Fort Mill, got the Bengals out of a jam Monday to earn a rematch with the Yellow Jackets. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD – Bengals’ starting pitcher Drew Ellis got into a little trouble in the fourth inning. Gaffney had just tied the game at 1, and the Indians’ bats looked to come alive Monday at the Blythewood baseball stadium. Then Tripper Ergle took the mound and shut Gaffney down, and Ellis’ fifth-inning solo home run snapped the tie. The Bengals went on to eliminate the No.3 Indians from the 4A District II Tournament with a 4-1 victory.

“The story of the game was Tripper Ergle,” Blythewood head coach Barry Mizzell said. “He got out of a jam in the fourth and we had two infield mistakes in the sixth and he pitched around it. He pitched tough and did well for us.”

The top-seeded Bengals (19-7) emerge from the loser’s bracket and will travel to Fort Mill Wednesday to play the Yellow Jackets for the district championship. They will have to beat Fort Mill twice to claim the title. Gaffney finishes the season 10-11.

Ergle’s 3 and 2/3 innings of no-hit ball came on top of Ellis’ 5-hit performance over 3 and 1/3 innings. Gaffney managed a hit in each of the first three innings, but had two hits and runners at first and third base with one out in the fourth.

Tristan Whelchel started the rally with a 1-out single and Ellis had hit Colby Crow. Cameron Farley drilled a single to left that scored Whelchel and put Crow on third before Mizzell gave the ball to Ergle. Ergle struck out Chris Clary and got Luke Lancaster to fly out to Ryan Malone in left field to end the inning.

Ellis immediately returned the favor in the bottom half of the fourth, driving a solo shot over the right-center field fence to make it 2-1 Blythewood.

Tyler Romanik started things up in the fifth with a 1-out double to left. Andrew Crook drew a walk and Connor Grant singled up the middle to load the bases.

Ellis drove in his second run of the night with a long sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Romanik. Walt Ballentine hit a long fly ball to left field to retire the side.

The Bengals squeezed a run in the sixth to seal the win. Malone doubled and Justin Lang-Spittler singled to lead off the sixth. Jacob Davis bunted Spittler over to second for the first out. Barrett Grant then stepped in the batter’s box and laid down a strong bunt toward the pitcher’s mound. Catcher Josh Sereno moved off the plate far enough to enable Malone to sneak in untouched for the fourth run.

“Around the second time through the order we relaxed a little bit offensively,” Mizzell said. “We’ve been struggling at the plate a little bit, and hitting’s contagious. When everybody’s hitting they’re relaxed, and when they’re not hitting they tend to put a little pressure on themselves. But tonight everybody was relaxed tonight late in the game.”

Romanik had two hits for Blythewood. Barrett Grant doubled.

The Bengals hope to stay relaxed Wednesday, as they play a team that blanked them 5-0 Saturday.


“It’s not the ideal situation to be in,” Mizzell said, “but we’ll go up there (to Fort Mill) and we’ll see what happens.” 


Gaffney 000 100 0 – 1 3 1

Blythewood    001 111 X – 4 9 2

B: Ellis, Ergle (4-W) and Crook. L: Farley (L), Wood (6) and Sereno. 2B: B, Romanik, Malone, B. Grant. HR: Ellis. LOB: G-9, B-7

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