Rock Hill Post 34 played the early game in first-round play of the 2010 South Carolina American Legion state tournament. It didn't matter, it was already hot. The temperature was 96 degrees when the game ended at 11:15 a.m.
Post 34 has been hot for a while now.
Josh Bowers gave up two first-inning singles and nothing more en route to a two-hit complete-game shutout over Murrells Inlet Post 178. He said after the game he was "burning up" on the mound. He didn't show any signs of letting up on Murrells Inlet.
Rock Hill, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, won the game 5-0 to run its winning streak to 18 games. They will play West Columbia at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Capital City Stadium.
Bowers, now 5-0, gave up a one-out single to Jake Davis in the first. Jason Tomlinson followed with a perfectly executed hit-and-run single through the right side of the infield and Post 178 had runners at the corners. Robert Troiano then grounded into a double play to end the threat and the inning.
Only one other batter reached base. Tomlinson reached on a throwing error in the fourth but was immediately erased on another short-to-second-to-first double play. Bowers mowed down the final 16 batters in order.
The second double play was nearly broken up by Tomlinson as he slid aggressively trying to take out Rock Hill's second baseman Brantley Rumford at the bag. Rumford calmly took a step back after receiving the throw from short stop Chad Smith and fired to first base to complete the twin killing.
"I don't think I was throwing as hard today. I just concentrated on throwing strikes and trusted my defense," Bowers said."The defense is always there."
Bowers, a recent Rock Hill High graduate, is headed to Winthrop next month. He said he had all three of his pitches. changeup, curveball, fastball, working on Friday. He needed just 97 pitches to finish the game.
Post 34 coach Steve Knight thought Bowers may have been nervous in the first inning before settling into the game.
"He seems to be steadily progressing," Knight said. "He keeps getting better and better. He was much more relaxed after the second inning. That was a great pitching performance to go with great defense."
Rock Hill scored in the third inning when Michael Hill led off with a double and scored on Casey Seay's two-base hit. Seay was a last-minute replacement in center field for Drew Hardee who became sick as the starting lineups were being announced.
Post 34 tallied two more runs in the fourth. Brad Zebedis and Chad Nadar singled. Zach Knight slapped an 0-2 pitch off Murrells Inlet starting pitcher Dan Meyer down the third base line to score Zebedis. Hill followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to allow Nadar to cross the plate and Rock Hill led 3-0.
Rock Hill chased Meyer in the seventh after Rumford drew a one-out walk. Murrells Inlet went to reliever Justin Vreeland.
Logan Cribb greeted Vreeland with a single to put runners on first and second. Zebedis followed with a sharply hit single to a charging Post 178 left fielder Dalton Novia. Novia tried to field the ball on the ground to hold Rumford at third but the ball eluded his glove. The error allowed two runs to score.