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Demons start well but fall to RNE, 2-1

Posted: March 28, 2014 11:17 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Sometimes, a leadoff single on the first pitch of the game is an omen.
Don’t tell that to the Lugoff-Elgin baseball team.
L-E leadoff batter Cody Mailly lined the first pitch he saw from Ryan Maness for a single. He then scored the Demons’ lone run in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Richland Northeast on a two-out single to left by Blake Serpas.
On a night in which hits and runs were at a premium, the host Cavaliers evened things with a run in the third and then scored the game-winning run on Maness’ sacrifice fly to left with one gone in the seventh to take home the one-run win in the Region 4-4A contest.
The loss was the first in three conference games for Randy Stokes’ troops who are tied atop the circuit along with Blythewood and RNE, all with 2-1 records.
The visitors outhit RNE, 8-6, but could not push a run across after the first frame. Serpas and Hunter McManus each had two hits in the loss.
“We just didn’t put our hits together when we had runners on base,” Stokes said. “We put the ball in play and struck out just four times, but we didn’t bunch our hits together like we needed to.”
L-E threatened in the seventh, getting the leadoff man aboard. But two failed bunt attempts led to a double play ball which killed the guests’ chances of taking a lead into the home half of the seventh.
Zac Bowers, who faced two batters in a seven-pitch save against Camden one night earlier, went the distance for L-E. The senior allowed six hits while striking out five. The Erskine signee threw 100 pitches on the night.
“They’re scrappy,” Stokes said of the RNE offense. “They get your pitch count up by doing the typical RNE stuff like taking a lot of pitches, fouling off a lot of pitches, taking a lot of pitches and just putting the ball in play. They really made Zac work.”
Maness also went the full seven frames and allowed his defense to make plays behind him while issuing one (intentional) walk.
“He pitched us backwards, like we knew he would,” Stokes said of the Cavalier ace. “He throws you curveball in fastball counts. We told our kids he was going to do that before the game.
“We knew he was going to be around the plate all night and, he was. He was hitting his spots and it was hard to get the barrel of the bat on the ball.”
Stokes said his players were upset after the tough loss which, he said, he liked to see.
“That’s not a bad thing when your kids are disappointed after a loss,” he said. “I think this is a game that we can learn from and one which will help us as we go along this season.”

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