Columbia Star

Silver Foxes are State Champs!


The Dutch Fork Silver Foxes, 2019 Class 5A Baseball State Champions: 1 Jay Metts; 2 Noah Jackson; 3 Daniel Cosola; 4 Hugh Ryan; 5 Luke Syfert; 6 Ty Olenchuk; 7 Crosby Jones; 8 Blair Rogers; 9 Andrew Fulmer; 10 Price Alexander; 11 Jay Kirkland; 12 Sam Hatcher; 14 Rhett Richardson; 15 Doug Webb; 16 Luke Kennedy; 17 Lance Fuhr; 18 TJ Hartline; 21 Jalen McDufie; 22 Lawson Brand; 23 Bryan Helms; 24 Jared Newell; 25 Brandon Shealy; 26 Chris Horton; 29 Ben Epting; and Head Coach Casey Waites. Photo by Jim Marczesky

The Dutch Fork Silver Foxes, 2019 Class 5A Baseball State Champions: 1 Jay Metts; 2 Noah Jackson; 3 Daniel Cosola; 4 Hugh Ryan; 5 Luke Syfert; 6 Ty Olenchuk; 7 Crosby Jones; 8 Blair Rogers; 9 Andrew Fulmer; 10 Price Alexander; 11 Jay Kirkland; 12 Sam Hatcher; 14 Rhett Richardson; 15 Doug Webb; 16 Luke Kennedy; 17 Lance Fuhr; 18 TJ Hartline; 21 Jalen McDufie; 22 Lawson Brand; 23 Bryan Helms; 24 Jared Newell; 25 Brandon Shealy; 26 Chris Horton; 29 Ben Epting; and Head Coach Casey Waites. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork reached for the impossible star– and finally caught it.

The Silver Foxes finishes third in Region 5-5A but were 6-0 in elimination games in the playoffs, including the District VIII championship, the lower-state title, and finally the state championship.

And Coach Casey Waites was having a ball.

“I have had a blast in these elimination games,” Waites said. “The nerves are what we were battling in the region to be able to get here to do this.”

“This” came courtesy of an RBI single in the fourth inning by Crosby Jones and 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief pitching from Sam Hatcher as the Dutch Fork Silver Foxes won the Class 5A state baseball championship 2-1 against the Blythewood Bengals Friday, May 17 at Segra Park.

Dutch Fork put up its first score in the top of the second against Blythewood starter Landon Lucas. Hugh Ryan opened with a single to center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Crosby Jones. Ryan moved to third on a ground out by Lance Fuhr and then came home on a passed ball.

Dutch Fork celebrates its Class 5A Baseball State Championship with a dog pile. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork celebrates its Class 5A Baseball State Championship with a dog pile. Photo by Jim Marczesky

The Bengals clawed back against Fox starter Doug Webb in the home half of the second. Harrison Lambert reached first on an infield single. He moved to third when Nate Hinson bunted, reached on a throwing error, and moved up to second base. Webb walked Zach Bailes to load the bases with two outs. Landon then came in for the Bengals’ only run on a throwing error. Blythewood left two men on base in the inning. The Bengals left nine men on base for the game.

Dutch Fork put up its second run in the top of the fourth. Noah Jackson hit a one-out double to deep left center and moved to third on a passed ball. Crosby Jones’s RBI single brought Jackson home for the Foxes’ second and deciding run.

Dutch Fork threatened in the fifth, putting men on second and third to chase starter Lucas for freshman reliever Kevin Steelman who got a strikeout to end the threat.

Dutch Fork starter Webb got two quick outs in the Blythewood fifth, before issuing a walk to Lucas and surrendering a single to John Lanier. Sam Hatcher came on in relief for the Foxes and got a ground-out to end the inning.

Dutch Fork’s Doug Webb tries to get to first base before Blythewood’s Harrison Lambert reaches it. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork’s Doug Webb tries to get to first base before Blythewood’s Harrison Lambert reaches it. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Hatcher pitched out of threats in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings. Brady Beasley and Harrison Lambert both hit singles and were on base with one out, but the Bengals could not get them home.

Josh Cowan came in to pitch for Blythewood in the top of the seventh, and he set the Foxes down with little fuss. Blythewood’s final threat came in the bottom of the seventh beginning with a double from John Lanier with two outs, and Colton Harman came in to run. Harman would be left on second, as Hatcher got a strike-out to end the game.

Waites was a little surprised that the series was dominated by pitching and defense.

“You have two teams here who are known for hitting the baseball,” Waites said. “I would not have expected that. But I will say that is championship baseball.”

Dutch Fork’s Sam Hatcher pitched the final 2-1/3 innings giving up no runs and three hits while striking out two. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork’s Sam Hatcher pitched the final 2-1/3 innings giving up no runs and three hits while striking out two. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Some of the scribes wanted to know what Hatcher was thinking as he was pitching the Foxes closer to the title.

“I was having a great time,” Hatcher said. “There was nothing going through my head. I knew we were the best school in the state. I just wanted to get it for my guys.”

According to Waites, Hatcher was just the guy to go get it.

“Ice in his veins,” Waites said. “He does not overpower people. There were a couple of nice pitches. He throws his curve ball, a change-up, and a couple fast balls. He just did an awesome job.”

Waites says the championship atmosphere at Dutch Fork is spreading through the school and community.

“Just look at the great support here,” Waites said. “I told the guys before the game to get a picture of these folks in the stands here. With Coach Tom Knotts and the football team at Dutch Fork, we had to do this.

“ Twenty-five guys who just won a state baseball championship for Dutch Fork High School!”

Dutch Fork’s Noah Jackson throws to first base. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork’s Noah Jackson throws to first base. Photo by Jim Marczesky

So, Sam Hatcher, you guys had this dream all year. How does the reality feel now that is has come true?

“It is better. Everything is better. It is brighter; it is better. The fans are crazier…. It is awesome.”

Webb pitched 4-2/3 innings for Dutch Fork giving up one run and three hits while striking out two batters. Jones went 1-for-1 with an RBI. Jackson went 2-for 3, while Alexander went 1- for-2.

Lucas pitched 4-2/3 innings for Blythewood giving up two runs and four hits while striking out three batters. Lambert went 2-for-3, Lanier went 2-for-4, and Bailes and Beasley both went 1-for-3.

Dutch Fork’s Pr ice Alexander makes a catch in the outfield. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork’s Pr ice Alexander makes a catch in the outfield. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork coach Casey Wai tes celebrates with his team. Photo by Jim Marczesky

Dutch Fork coach Casey Wai tes celebrates with his team. Photo by Jim Marczesky

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