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17ers score five in first to upend Manning, 12-4

Posted: June 17, 2014 10:43 a.m.
Updated: June 18, 2014 5:00 a.m.

MANNING -- Manning-Santee put itself in an early hole against Kershaw County Post 17 on Monday and try as it might, Post 68 couldn’t pull itself out.
Manning found itself down 5-0 before it ever got to bat and got within two runs on two occasions. However, a lack of timely hitting kept it from getting any closer as KC won the American Legion League III baseball game 12-4 at the Manning High School field.
KC improved to 9-3 overall and 5-1 in league play, remaining one-half game behind Sumter. Post 68 dropped to 3-9 overall and 3-7 in league play.
Manning left 13 runners on base, nine of them in scoring position.
“Our approach hitting tonight was terrible,” said Manning head coach G.G. Cutter. “We had runners in scoring position and then we’re standing there taking strikes. You can’t do that against a good team like them.”
Post 68 also had the misfortune of getting two runners on base after two were out with no one on in three different innings. It got just one run in those situations.
“It’s kind of been that way for us all season,” Cutter said. “Two outs, nobody on, and then we get two on. Then, we either pop up or strike out.”
KC jumped on Post 68 starting pitcher William Ard for five runs in the first inning. Russ Radcliff led off with a double that one-hopped the fence in left field. Blake Serpas drew a walk and Tyler Bowers put down a bunt for a single to load the bases with no outs.
It looked as though Ard may get out of the inning with minimal damage when he induced a ground ball double play, allowing one run to score. However, Gunner Smith dropped a single into left-center to score Serpas and make it 2-0. A passed ball and a wild pitch allowed Smith to score and Austin Hayes blooped a single into left to score two more runs and make it 5-0.
Post 68 broke through against Post 17 starter Grey Hoke in the third inning for three runs. Michael Burgess drew a walk from the left-handed Hoke to start the inning, and he was sacrificed to second by J.T. Eppley. Jared Hair reached on an infield single and got caught in a rundown, allowing Burgess to score as KC traded a run for an out.
That strategy backfired to a degree for Manning as Collin Lee followed with a double. He went to third on a Steven Cox single before Tommy King ripped a two-run triple to the gap in right-center to make it 5-3.
Post 17 got a run back in the fourth against Hair, who came on in relief of Ard to start the third. Broderick Gaither drew a two-out walk and scored on a Serpas single to make it 6-3.
Manning pulled within a run again in the bottom of the sixth with one of its two-out, none-on rallies. Eppley drew a walk before Hair was hit by a pitch. Lee, who was 2-for-5, singled to drive in Eppley and make it 6-4.
KC responded with two runs in the seventh against Hair. Bowers just missed a home run, hitting the base of the fence in right for a run-scoring double. Lawson Stokes followed with an RBI single to make it 8-4.
P-17 put the game out of reach with a four-run top of the ninth to extend its lead to eight runs.
Hoke got the victory. The Citadel signee struck out nine and walked three while allowing eight hits and four runs in six innings. College of Charleston-bound lefty Will Detwiler worked the final three innings to get the save.
Serpas helped pace the visitors with a pair of hits. He was hit by a pitch twice and drew a walk while scoring three runs. Stokes had two hits and three runs batted in.

Keeping POSTed: Post 17 ran its win streak to four in a row with Monday’s win, which came after Saturday afternoon’s come-from-behind 9-8 victory over visiting Lancaster in the opening round of the Palmetto Invitational. The remainder of the tournament will be played in Florence on June 28-29 with KC playing three games in two days … The 17ers will play the middle game of the series with Manning-Santee tonight in a 7 p.m. contest at American Legion Park in Camden. Thursday, KC travels to Cheraw for a make-up game of last Wednesday’s rained-out affair. That League III meeting has a 7 p.m. start. The locals wrap up their three-game season series with Manning-Santee with a return trip to Manning  Friday at 7:30 p.m. … Craig Smith’s squad is in the middle of its busiest stretch of the season. Following Friday’s trip to Manning, the 17ers will have played five games in six days. Next week, they have a three-game series with Hartsville followed by playing three games in the Palmetto Invitational with three straight night games with Sumter to close out the regular season. That will make having played 14 games in the span of 18 days ... KC remained in second place in League III as Sumter knocked off Cheraw on Monday to remain atop the circuit with a 6-1 record.

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