By Thomas Grant Jr.
The wait is over for the Lexington County Blowfish.
Nine years after making the move from Columbia across Lake Murray to Lexington, the team is back in the Coastal Plain League Petitt Cup final.
The Blowfish earned a berth Tuesday after winning the final two games of the Best-of-Three West Division playoff series over the Forest City Owls Tuesday at home.
Both games were played at Lexington County Baseball Stadium after Game Two on Monday rained out. When play resumed, Lexington County proceeded to rout Forest City 11-0.
Starting pitcher Carnes Starnes threw six hitless innings. Meanwhile, Zack Cowart of River Bluff got the Lexington offense going with a 2-run homer in the first inning.
It was all Blowfish from there as it added two runs in the second on RBIs by Dariyan Pendergrass and Ty Jackson and Phillip Ard belted a two-run homer as part of a five-run third inning to make it 9-0.
Lexington picked up two more runs in the seventh and Anson Merrick closed out the series-tying victory with three shutout innings on the mound.
The decisive game three was a seven-inning contest which started 30 minutes later. The Blowfish struck early again with RBI singles by Ashby Vining and Cowart to take a 2-0 lead.
Both Ard and Vining went deep again in the third inning. A two-run shot by Ard and solo home run by Vining extended the lead to 5-0.
On the mound, starter Robbie Jordan struck out four in his first three innings. He would leave the Owls scoreless through five innings before leaving the game with an 8-0 lead.
Forest City picked up a run, but Lexington County would not be denied as it closed out the 8-1 victory to win the West Division title.
The Blowfish last won the Petitt Cup in 2012 and finished runner-up to Peninsula in 2013.
They will now travel Thursday to Wilmington, N.C. to open the Best-of-Three final against the Sharks.
Wilmington defeated Morehead City 5-2 in Game Three on Tuesday.
Game Two and Game Three (if necessary) will take place in Lexington.