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    (PHOTO COURTESY OF WWW.GOFLASHWIN.COM) Class 5A Lower State baseball champion Dutch Fork High School

Dutch Fork wins Class 5A Lower State title

Game 1 of Best-of-3 series starts 1 p.m. Saturday at Blythewood

The River Bluff baseball team looked to 3-peat as Class 5A Lower State champions Wednesday night in The Swamp.

All they needed was 1 victory over Region 5-5A foe Dutch Fork, a team they had defeated 3 out of 4 times this season.

Game 1 didn’t go the Gators’ way as Dutch Fork, led by Clemson University commit Tyler Olenchuk hurled 6 2/3 innings in a 4-2 victory.

The junior pitcher struck out 7 on 114 pitches and drove in 2 runs in the win.

In Game 2, it was all Silver Foxes from the start. Dutch Fork put up four runs in the first inning, one on a leadoff solo home run by Olenchuk and three of a Lance Fuhr blast.

In all, the Silver Foxes hit three homers off of Ricky Williams, a Clemson commit, to seize the control that they would not relinquish.

With the Silver Foxes holding the 6-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, River Bluff loaded the bases against starter Doug Webb, but a back-to-back strikeouts by reliever Blair Rogers ended the threat in the sixth inning.

“They had momentum (after game one),” River Bluff head coach Mark Bonnette said. “Those early runs allowed them to settle in.”

The Silver Foxes (22-10) will travel to Blythewood to begin a Best-of-3 Class 5-A state title series starting now at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Bengals defeated J.L. Mann 3-0 to win the Upper State championship under head coach Banks Faulkner, who won a state title as a player in 1999 and assistant coach in 2013 at Lexington High School.

Game 2 is set for Tuesday in Irmo, with a deciding contest, if necessary, Saturday at a neutral site. There’s a possibility of Lexington County Baseball Stadium serving as the location, but there’s no confirmation at this time.

The series can be heard on . 



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