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Demons silence RV on Branham's one-hitter

Posted: March 6, 2017 1:09 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2017 1:00 a.m.

It is always good to leave on a high note.

Lugoff-Elgin did just that in closing out its four-game run in the Carolina Ale House Classic with a 10-0 win over Ridge View in a Saturday afternoon game played at Irmo High School. The scheduled seven-inning contest was stopped in the bottom of the sixth by the 10-run rule.

The Demons finish fifth in the eight-team event with a 2-2 record.

Following a Thursday night loss to Dreher, L-E head coach Randy Stokes was hoping his team would bounce back with a solid performance. The Demons did just that starting with Zac Branham, who went the distance, allowing just one hit and fanning nine batters.

Branham, a junior right-hander who suffered an injury to his left hand, pitched after having been fitted with a protective pad on his left hand which allowed him to wear his glove over the padding. That fact did not seem to bother him in his first appearance this season.

“We really didn’t know what to expect out of Zac,” Stokes said. “He has thrown in the bullpen without his glove, he has done his conditioning and did his arm work. We were anxious to see how he would do against live hitting and he did very well.”

Branham’s bid for a no-hitter was ruined by a two-out single in the top of the third inning. He  issued two walks and only faced 22 batters in picking up the mound victory 

Branham was backed by an offense which collected 11 hits and gave him a quick 3-0 lead after one frame which turned into an eight-run advantage after three.

The Demons mounted a one-out, three-run rally in the home half of the first with Chase Galloway getting aboard after having been hit by a pitch. After Chase Roberts drew a walk, Jake Laffin belted a two-run triple to left center. Laffin made it 3-0, scoring on a wild pitch.

An inning later, the Demons, again, struck for three runs with another one-out rally.

Bradwin Salmond collected the first of three hits on the day with a single to center and stealing second. Galloway then walked and courtesy runner Justin Dorton and Salmond had a double-steal with both runners scoring on a Roberts single to right. Roberts swiped second and third base before scoring on Laffin’s single along the left field line to make it 6-0.

A two-run third opened with John Bradley being hit by a pitch and promptly stealing second. With one gone, Josh Boone launched an RBI triple to left center and he later scored on Salmond’s sacrifice fly to shallow right field, on a fly ball tracked down by the second baseman.

The Demons tacked on a run in the fifth as Salmond singled and scored on an error on a ball hit off the bat of Roberts. They put the game away an inning later as Walker Branham walked and would later score on a Jay Lynch one-out single to left.

Salmond led the L-E offensive attack with three hits while Laffin added a pair.

“We had some big hits; we put some hits together and we were able to score some runs, which was a good thing,” Stokes said. “We have to continue getting better offensively. Making adjustments at the plate is a big thing for us. We need to continue to make adjustments from at-bat to at-bat.”

The Demons also sent out a new infield on Saturday. Regular starting shortstop J.C. LeGrand got the nod at second base so as not to tax his arm with long throws as he returns from injury. Salmond moved from center field to shortstop while Laffin made a seamless transition to third base.

“Those guys made every play on defense,” Stokes said of the effectiveness of the changes. 

The Demons kicked off their first week of the regular season against rival Camden on Monday. They continue things with two more non-region home games on Wednesday and Friday with Midland Valley and Chapin, respectively.

 

Galloway earns CAHC all-tourney honor: Lugoff-Elgin catcher Chase Galloway was named to the Carolina Ale House Classic All-Tournament team. 

The senior, who has signed to play at Florence-Darlington Technical College, batted at a .556 clip for the Demons in their four games in the event.

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