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Lancaster Post 31 Juniors took Game 1 of the American Legion playoffs in dramatic fashion as Will Gaston slugged a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to beat Rock Hill Post 34, 5-3, on Monday night at Eggleton Field.
Lancaster, the second-place team in League V, took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Adam Eubanks scored Andrew Smyre with a sacrifice fly.
Lancaster extended its lead in the third as Kendall Adams singled and scored on Joseph Threatt’s RBI.
Rock Hill Post 34, the third-place finisher in League V, tied the score at two in the fifth when Jeremy McCoy knocked in a run with a single.
Rock Hill took a one-run lead in the sixth only to see Lancaster respond with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning when Ricky Lewis singled and later scored on Adams’ sacrifice fly.
“We showed a lot of character tonight, tying the game in the sixth and then winning it the way we did in the seventh,” said Post 31 baseball coach Mike Anderson.
Eubanks picked up the win in relief, as he pitched the seventh inning, giving up one run on one hit and posting one strikeout.
Eric Mojica, the starter, worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, two walks and striking out one.
Will Gaston worked 1 2/3 innings, surrendering two hits and a walk.
Offensively, Lancaster was led by Gaston’s two-run shot. Threatt supplied two hits and one RBI. Adams had one hit and one RBI.
Zack Rollings, Trai Sanders and Lewis chipped in a hit each, and Eubanks had a sacrifice fly.
“If we continue to stay focused and play our game Tuesday night I think we will be OK,” Anderson said.
The Juniors traveled to Rock Hill High School Tuesday for game two of the best-of-three series. Results of that game will be in Friday’s edition.
If a third game is needed, it will be 7 p.m. Wednesday at Eggleton Field.