NORTH AUGUSTA – Three shutdown innings from two of Fox Creek’s harder throwers prevented any thoughts of a comeback for Lewisville, sending the Predators one step closer to a spot in the state championship.
Fox Creek scored six early runs and benefited from three scoreless innings at the end of the game for a 9-4 win over Lewisville on Wednesday night.
The Predators advance to the Class A Upper State Championship at St. Joseph’s on Friday. The Lions’ season ended with the loss.
Fox Creek’s Dalton Swires pitched two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, including striking out the side in the sixth, while not allowing a hit and walking one.
Swires said his curveball was working well, getting all three strikeouts on the pitch.
“To be a 15-year-old freshman, that kid is a bulldog,” Fox Creek coach Wesley Brown said. “He’s done a good job for us, and we’ve leaned on him here in the playoffs. We’ve got full confidence in our pitching staff. Our defense just has to play behind them and we’ll be fine.”
Michael Hill pitched a scoreless seventh around two singles to shut the door and preserve the five-run lead.
Fox Creek (16-2) scored four runs in the first inning on three hits. Brandon Quiller set the tone with a two-run single for a four-run lead.
The Predators added two more in the second, including an RBI triple by Caleb Cox.
“We needed that good start out of the gate,” Brown said. “The kids responded. We had a good start, and that definitely set the tone.”
Lewisville (9-11) bounced back with three in the third and one in the fourth, to get within two runs.
However, Fox Creek put the game away with three runs in the fifth. An error and wild pitch scored two, and Roby Gillespie singled home the ninth run for the Predators.
Fox Creek’s Terrance Hillary reached base three times from the leadoff spot on a single, hit-by-pitch and walk. Brent Lacey walked twice and singled. Cox’s triple was the lone extra-base hit of the game.