Last Thursday, the Dutch Fork baseball team clinched the region championship in a thrilling victory over Lugoff-Elgin, capping off a successful season.

Last Thursday, the Dutch Fork baseball team clinched the region championship in a thrilling victory over Lugoff-Elgin, capping off a successful season.

“We ended our regular season 15-7 and region champions which isn’t terrible. This years team did meet my expectations besides I think we should’ve won more games,” senior Parker Shepard said.

The Foxes used an improbable comeback to defeat the Demons 9-8 on senior night, clinching their second consecutive region title.

“The best moment of the season was on senior night coming back from being down 6-0 and winning in the bottom of the 7th on a walk off hit,” senior Branden Deans said.

Coming into the season, Dutch Fork had a blend of veteran leadership and young talent. Underclassmen are excited to get the opportunity to improve their game at the varsity levels.

“My goal was to be a starter on varsity, and I’ve just worked  hard to reach it,” sophomore Kyle Ecton said.

The team’s veterans set individual goals for themselves in hopes to make the team better than they were last season.

“I wanted to improve my game from last year and I worked hard during practice to better myself as a player,” senior Josh Lusk said.

The team as a whole were not satisfied at the number of losses they obtained, but were able to win the games that mattered.

“A lot of the games that we lost we had put ourselves into that position and it was our fault that we let those get away,” Parker said.

The season included wins over Irmo, Blythewood, Spring Valley, and an impressive 20-0 victory over Lakewood. The wins in the regular season will mean nothing if the team doesn’t advance to the state championship game.

“We just have to play our best ball of the season and count on each other and our coaches to get the job done,” Branden said.

The Foxes will face Boiling Springs in the first round of the playoffs, who has had a successful campaign of their own. Dutch Fork brings a deep pitching staff and a great lineup of hitters to the table, which they are hoping will propel them through the playoffs.

“We’re gonna have to stay within ourselves and not change our game just because it is playoffs,” Josh said.

Not only does the team have talent, but they are familiar with each other, some playing baseball together since they were in elementary school.

“Most of the kids on our team have been playing together since we were 8-9 years old, so we have a lot of team chemistry. Also, we’ve played good teams and are battle tested, so I think we can go far because of those reasons,” Parker said.

With the playoffs comes the pressure of the “win-or-go-home” scenario, but the Foxes are unfazed by the possibility of defeat.

“I’m going to play like it’s just another game,” Branden said.” “It’s just like any other baseball game, something I’ve done my whole life.”

Story by Trey Martin, Josh German, Sam Aaron

Photo courtesy of Go Flash Win

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