Blowfish off to hot start to open second half of Season

By Thomas Grant Jr.

Perhaps playing before a large group of soldiers on Fort Jackson Night has inspired a turnaround for the Lexington County Blowfish.

The defending Coastal Plain League champions have resembled a different team than the one which ended the first half schedule under .500. Since closing out the first half with a come-from-behind 11-10 victory over the Macon Bacon, Lexington County entered Wednesday having won four of its past six games to get within a game of .500 overall.

Monday’s 15-5 rout in eight innings the first-place Boone Bigfoots at Lexington County Baseball Stadium saw the Blowfish win their second straight game courtesy of the 10-run rule. Two nights earlier, it avenged a 10-2 loss at the Florence Flamingos with a 14-4 home win in seven innings.

The victory over the Bigfoots not only brought Lexington County within ½ game of first place, but also avenged the other second half loss. In the final scheduled meeting between the two teams, the Blowfish fell behind 4-0 in the first inning.

Lexington erased that deficit courtesy of two of three 2-run home runs. Just hours after being one of four Lexington County players named to the West team for the July 8 CPL All-Star game at Forest City, River Bluff graduate Walker Mitchell made it 4-2 with a home run over the right-centerfield wall.

The next inning, Brookland-Cayce graduate Ty Marshall of Clemson tied the game with a 2-run homer. It was the start of a productive night for Marshall as he finished with five RBI.

On the mound, Landry Mead relieved Blowfish starter Cade Bouknight after the first inning and threw four scoreless innings. In the sixth, Marshall deflected a hard single off Boone pitcher Nolan Smoot that rolled into the outfield and drove in two runs to put Lexington County up 6-4.

Boone’s Brandon Rogers answered with a solo home run off reliever Davis Wright in the Top 7th. The Blowfish responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, including a fielder’s choice by Marshall for his fifth RBI of the game.

Lexington County broke the game open with six runs in the Bottom 8th. River Bluff graduate Zach Cowart of The Citadel connected on a 2-run homer to start the rally, Sam Busch added a 2-run single and Brent Gibbs and Dariyan Pendergrass drew back-to-back RBI walks to end the game.

The Blowfish returned to action Wednesday for a three-game homestand starting with Macon. It will then hold an intrasquad scrimmage pitting the Blowfish and Glowfish against each other on July 4.

A “Patriotic Concert in the Sky” Fireworks Spectacular” will follow both games.

Lexington County will close out the homestand Friday against Holly Springs and travel to Macon Saturday before the 4-day All-Star Break.

All-Star Selections

The July 7-8 Coastal Plain League All-Star Show in Forest City will include four Lexington County Blowfish players.

Infielder Walker Mitchell of River Bluff, catcher Ashby Vining of Gilbert and pitchers C.J. Czerwinski and Michael Watson were voted on to the West team. Czerwinski will get the honor as the starting pitcher.

This is the second All-Star selection this week for Mitchell and Watson. This past Sunday, he and Watson competed for the CPL Select team which faced the USA Baseball Collegiate National team this past Sunday in Cary, N.C.

Mitchell entered Tuesday batting a team-high .383. He and Vining also lead the Blowfish along with Blake Martin with 12 RBI.

Czerwinski has made six appearance with an ERA of 1.44 and a team-high 32 strikeouts. Watson has also made six appearances and has struck out 25 batters.

Photo by Thomas Grant Jr. –  Lexington County Blowfish second baseman Walker Mitchell of River Bluff following his 2-run homer against the Boone Bigfoots.

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