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Williamson, Sumter fire blanks at P-17ers in 10-0 victory

Posted: June 16, 2016 5:04 p.m.
Updated: June 17, 2016 1:00 a.m.

SUMTER --- It may seem like the American Legion baseball season just began, but the Sumter P-15’s wrapped up at least a share of the League III title on Monday at Riley Park with a 10-0, eight-inning victory over Kershaw County Post 17.

Sumter improved to 12-1 overall, but more importantly, 10-0 in league play. KC has played just five league games and is 3-2, the second fewest losses among League III teams

“It has really flown by quickly,” said second-year P-15’s head coach Steve Campbell. “We’re just happy to be in the position we’re in right now where we’re close to winning this.”

The game looked as though it was shaping up as a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings. While Sumter starting pitcher Rylan Williamson allowed a base runner in each of the first three innings, Post 17 couldn’t scratch. KC right-hander Will Abbott, who has signed to play with The Citadel, looked strong in each of the first two innings and started the third inning recording an out as well. Things fell apart quickly though as Abbott began to have control problems.

He walked number nine hitter Ryan Moore and leadoff man Caleb Larrimore before getting Brandon Spittle to fly out for the second out. However, Abbott walked Jordan Holladay and Todd Larrimer to force in a run. Dawson Price dropped a fly ball into short right-center field that Post 17 centerfielder Bradwin Salmond almost ran down for what would have been a spectacular grab. Instead the P-15’s scored two runs to go up 3-0.

Williamson then helped his own cause by sending a single back up the middle to drive in two more runs and push the advantage to 5-0.

“Their centerfielder almost made a great catch,” Campbell said. “I was happy to see it in fall in. That seemed to really get the momentum going in our direction.”

Williamson had a lot to do with that. While neither he nor Ryan Touchberry, who tossed the final two innings, had a 1-2-3 inning, they kept Post 17 off the scoreboard.

Williamson worked six innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out three. He only allowed one runner in scoring position. 

“Ryan’s just been steady for us all season,” Campbell said. “It wasn’t his best game, but he goes out there and sets the tone for us. He’s started the first of each of our league games and has done a great job.

Abbott ended up working five innings, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out seven. All five of the runs he allowed were earned.

Sumter made it 6-0 in the seventh on an RBI double by Larrimer and finished the game with four in the eighth off of Nick Stokes and reliever Parker Gogan. Larrimer, who was 3-for-4 with a walk and four runs batted in, had a two-run single before Gogan walked both Touchberry and Tradd James with the bases loaded to force in the final two runs.

Price finished with two hits and two RBI for Sumter, which had 11 hits. Ryan Moore had two hits, including a double, and Holladay scored three runs.

James got Salmond on a ground out to Moore at second for the second out in the seventh before walking William Cobb to fill the bags for Flick whose sharply hit liner to third ended the threat with the hosts leaving the bags jammed.

The 17ers ended the night leaving 10 runners on the base paths with half of those in scoring position. That did not sit well with Pike who said his team failed to come up with the big hit.

“Baseball is all about timely hitting. The team that does that is going to win and Sumter has done that a lot better than we have done that in these first two games,” he said. “You look at the ball Flick hit with two outs in the seventh. If he hits that ball a foot higher or, a foot to the left, that’s two runs and who knows, it could have been a different ballgame. It is what it is though. That’s what makes this game great.”

KC threatened in the eighth only to leave runners on the corners as James worked his way around singles from Hough and Beckley while strike out the side. He then struck out two batters in the ninth to preserve the victory with a 2.2-inning save.

“We figured (Larrimore) was a little bit tired so we took him out,” Campbell said. “Tradd came in and did a great job for us which was just what we needed.”

Pike said Larrimore was able to keep his batters guessing thanks to pitching backwards with the off-speed stuff setting up the fastball.

“He was good,” Pike said of the Sumter righty. “He was throwing his breaking ball for a strike and it was tough. He’s not a real hard thrower but you don’t need to be when you’re throwing that breaking ball for a strike like he was; that made his fastball seem that much faster.

“That was the difference tonight. They threw strikes and we hit little patches where we struggled a bit to throw strikes.”

With one more League III game left and the league title already sewn up, Campbell said now is not the time for his team to be looking ahead to the postseason. 

“My focus now is on Thursday night,” he said. “We have to play (KC) again. They have a good ballclub and they’re not just going to roll over for us; that’s just the way it is. 

“We come to play and they come to play. Every time these two teams get together, it’s a great series and when they come to Riley Park on Thursday night, they’re going to come and play as hard as they did tonight.”

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