Fort Mill gets revenge on Blythewood

Colin Jones takes a powerful swipe at the Fort Mill pitch. | Ross Burton

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood baseball team looked to follow up on its 7-3, 8-inning victory over Fort Mill Tuesday night with a second straight win over the Yellow Jackets at Blythewood Stadium Friday night.

Instead, the Bengals ran into Mikey Tepper.

The Fort Mill right-hander pitched a 3-hitter and struck out seven as the Yellow Jackets went on to a 5-1 victory.

“He was good, and he didn’t allow us anything,” Blythewood head coach Banks Faulkner said. “They were really clean defensively, and it’s easy to play defense behind a guy like that, because he just pounded the strike zone.”

While Tepper kept the Blythewood bats largely silent, Fort Mill batters got started early on Landon Lucas.

The Yellow Jackets opened with two runs on four hits in the first. Leadoff batter Barton Heller’s first-pitch single put him on board for Justin Kerosetz, who lined a double to right and drove in Heller.

After Conner Manco singled, Kerosetz scored from third on a wild pitch to J.T. Marr. Marr eventually singled to put runners at first and third with one out. However, Manco got picked off trying for second and Carson Jones struck out to retire the side.

The Yellow Jackets got another run in the second to take a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth. That’s when Blythewood’s only threat of the game came.

“We played from behind the whole game,” Faulkner said. “We had that chance of cutting that lead, and it was there, but we just didn’t execute like we’re supposed to.”

Brady Beasley led off the inning, drawing Tepper’s only walk of the game. Beasley was out on John Lanier’s fielder’s choice. Lucas then drove a double to leftfield, and Janson Stokes was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.

Josh Cowan slapped a 1-1 pitch to left that easily drove in Lanier to cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 3-1.

Blythewood seemed poised to even the score just as they did Tuesday night. But Tepper and Fort Mill got out of the jam.

Courtesy runner Michael Gregory, running for Lucas at third base, took off for the plate as Jordan Flemming swung and missed on a low Tepper pitch. Catcher J.T. Marr had a touch of trouble handling the ball he trapped in the dirt, but he picked it up and got to the plate in time to tag Gregory out.

Flemming later grounded out in the infield to retire the side.

“It was there,” Faulkner said. “It was 3-2 to the plate and we worked on that, and I don’t know, we just waited and didn’t execute.”

Fort Mill scored two more runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-1 lead. Tepper’s last three innings of work were hitless.

Lucas had a tough first and fifth innings, and gave up nine hits in six full innings of work. He struck out five.

“He’s a talented kid, throwing the ball a little better,” Faulkner said. “But we don’t play real good defense behind him. That’s the way we’ve been all year, we play really poor defense and it forces pitchers to have to throw extra pitches and to be perfect, and it’s frustrating. We wasted a pretty good performance from him.”

The Bengals (7-8) will play again Thursday, when they kick off the S.C. Diamond Invitational Tournament in Blythewood. Action in the 8-team tournament continues to the championship game and consolation games Sunday.

FMHS – 2-1-0-0-2-0 – 5-9-0

BHS – 0-0-0-1-0-0 – 1-3-2

WP: Mikey Tepper LP: Landon Lucas

HITTING: Fort Mill – Justin Kerosetz 2-4, 2B. Barton Keller 2-4. Drew Hartman 2B. Blythewood – Landon Lucas 2B.