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Demons lose Radcliff, game in same day

Posted: April 11, 2014 2:08 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2014 5:00 a.m.

L-E SHORTSTOP RUSS RADCLIFF keep a close watch on the batter and an RNE baserunner during last Tuesday’s game at Optimist Field.

Things started on an ominous note for the Lugoff-Elgin baseball team on Thursday and they would not get better that evening.
During the day, starting shortstop and number three batter Russ Radcliff injured his knee in a non-baseball-related activity. The junior thought everything was fine and took infield practice for that night’s game at Blythewood. But while stretching to field a grounder, his knee gave out and he was scratched from the lineup.
Radcliff was to have the knee examined and L-E head coach Randy Stokes feared the worst.
“The trainer at the field said it could be anything from a strained meniscus to a torn meniscus to an interior cruciate ligament injury,” he said of the early on-field diagnosis. “Either way, we’re probably not going to have him for the rest of the season.”
Stokes said he told his team the scenario on Thursday and looked at it as an opportunity for another of his players to step up in and help take up the slack created by Radcliff’s absence.
“We don’t know what is happening with Russ, yet,” Stokes said, “but he is a big part of our team. I hate this more for him that for us because Russ has worked so hard getting ready for this season and he was playing so well.
“We’ll keep moving ahead, though. I told our kids that sometimes, adversity helps you to pull together. We’re hoping that we’ll have some other guys step up for us with Russ out of the lineup.”
That evening, Blythewood took a large step toward winning the Region 4-4A title by scoring all 16 of its runs in the first four innings to take a 16-3 victory over the Demons.
Thanks to an eight-run second, BHS went up 14-0. The Demons scored a run in the top of the third when a Blake Serpas ground out plated Cody Mailly, who reached on a walk.
L-E scored a pair in the fifth and final frame to close the final gap to 13 runs. Josh Bradley reached on a passed ball on a third strike. Bradwin Salmond then got aboard on an error. Bradley scored when he tagged up on Gunner Smith’s sacrifice fly ball to first base while Salmond came in on a passed ball.
Things were much better for Stokes and company one night earlier when L-E roughed up visiting Irmo, 12-5. Radcliff went 3-for-5 with three RBI in that game while Salmond, the eighth-grader who has been moved to shortstop, had one hit while driving in four runs. Danny Bowen enjoyed a three-hit night.
Sophomore Brock Robinson went four innings to earn the mound win while Salmond went the final 2.2 innings for the save.
The hosts scored four runs in the second to take a 4-0 lead. Blake Serpas got things going with a fly ball to third which was dropped for a three-base error. He came home on Mikey Branham’s single which was followed by a Bowen single, putting runners on the corners. Branham scored on a wild pitch before Mailly was hit by a pitch. Salmond drove in runs three and four with a two-run double to center field.
After the Jackets evened things at 4-4 with a four-run fourth, L-E scored two more in the fbottom of the fourth as Bowen singled while Hunter McManus drew a walk. An error on a Salmond grounder drove in Bowen with McManus coming home on a Radcliff single.
The Demons put this one away with a five-run fifth which began with Branham reaching on an error. Bowen then singled and both runs came in on a McManus double. After Mailly walked, he and McManus moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Salmond’s sacrifice fly to center knocked in Mailly while Radcliff plated another run with a double. After Gunner Smith was hit by a pitch before Serpas smacked a two-run double to hoist the lead to 11-5.
L-E closed the scoring in the sixth with McManus getting on via an error and scoring on Salmond’s sac fly to center.
The split of the two games gave the Demons a 5-3 record in Region 4-4A, good for second place in the six-team circuit.
Playing three games in as many nights, following Tuesday’s nine-inning loss to Richland Northeast, was hard on his team, Stokes said.
“It’s tough, but we’re not going to make any excuses,” he said. “Our kids deserve some time off so, we are going to give them the rest of the week and (last) weekend off before we play in the spring break tournament in Camden.
“We break our season in three: We have the pre-season, the middle of the season and then, the stretch run which begins with the spring break tournament which we hope will be a springboard into the playoffs.”


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