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Dogs, Demons stay perfect in regions

Posted: March 20, 2017 4:38 p.m.
Updated: March 21, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Don’t look now but both Camden and Lugoff-Elgin used Friday night baseball wins to stay atop their respective conference standings. North Central, on the other hand, fell a game behind in its league with a loss.

Getting a complete game two-hit effort from Devin Beckley, Camden held off host Chester, 2-0, to improve to 2-0 in Region 4-AAA play.

Lugoff-Elgin capped its two-game series with Darlington with Zac Branham firing a complete game four-hitter in a 10-0 win over the host Falcons as the Demons went 2-0 after their first week of play in Region 6-4A.

In Cheraw, North Central fell to 1-1 in Region 4-AA action with a 10-4 loss to the Braves.

Dogs overcome bug to top Cyclones: Denny Beckley’s charges left two players at home with the stomach bug while two others battled through flu-like symptoms on Friday.

In the end, it was Devin Beckley making Chester a bit queasy as the 6-foot-3 right-hander fanned eight while scattering a pair of hits along the way to record his second conference win in as many Friday night starts.

Devin Beckley was sick during the day on Friday but was able to make the trip to Chester. He ended up hooking up in a duel with Chester lefty Luke Blanchett, who allowed Camden just four hits with walking one.

“This was a great pitcher’s duel,” said CHS head coach Denny Beckley. “Blanchett is a strike-throwing machine who was hitting his spots all night long. We struggled to get men on base and get them into scoring position.”

The Bulldogs (3-6, 2-0 in 4-AAA) did their scoring in the top of the fourth inning as Lindsay Pierce led things off with a two-strike base hit to left field. Beckley was called on to sacrifice and laid down a perfectly placed bunt along the third base line which went for a base hit.  William Cobb was then asked to sacrifice, also, only for the Cyclones’ pitcher to mishandle the bunt to load the bases for Tyler Maxwell.  

Maxwell worked the count for an RBI walk and Brady White followed with an RBI fielders’ choice groundout to shortstop.  

It would be the only time after Nick Butler led off the game with a double that the Dogs advanced a runner beyond second.

That would be all of the scoring Beckley, a Citadel signee would need but he did have some anxious moments down the stretch.  

Chester had a scoring threat in the bottom of the sixth with a runner on second base with two outs but a diving stop by Cobb of a rocket hit along the first base line squelched the rally.  The Cyclones made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh as Beckley walked the leadoff batter.  The second batter had an infield single and the third batter walked to load the bases with nobody out.  After a mound visit from pitching coach Joe Bowers, Beckley calmed down and struck out the next three batters to secure the victory.

Through six innings, Devin Beckley threw just 70 pitches. He threw 61 of his 91 pitches for strikes on a night where he reined in his fastball.

“Devin had the stomach bug early on Friday and he did a good job of keeping his pitch count down and working ahead in the count,” Denny Beckley said of his son’s performance.

“He used his curveball sparingly and also worked in the changeup. His fastball was in the zone but he was not trying to be overpowering with it. By doing that, Devin was able to conserve a lot of energy.”

Pierce led the Bulldog offense with a pair of singles in three at bats. Butler was one-for-three with a double and Devin Beckley was one-for-three as the visitors were held to four hits.

Branham shuts down Falcons: After having outlasted Darlington, 15-10, on Tuesday at home, Lugoff-Elgin had little trouble with the Falcons three nights later thanks in large part to Zac Branham.

The junior righty fanned three and walked two batters in a 102-pitch effort. Branham  was only in trouble once as DHS leaded the bases with two gone in the sixth before he got a ground ball for the third out to keep the shutout intact.

The Demons scored all the runs Branham would need by pushing across five in a top of the first which opened with Bradwin Salmond getting aboard on the first of five Darlington errors. A two-out Josh Ayer single drove Salmond home from third. A walk to Justin Dorton followed before a Garrett Cassady single plated Ayer.

Both Dorton and Cassady moved into scoring position on a catcher’s interference and both came in on Hunter Coleman’s double to right center.

The Demons tacked on four runs in the sixth with Coleman’s single to center kicking off the two-out rally. A Noah Rabon single and a Salmond walk loaded the bases for J.C. Legrand who got aboard on an error which allowed Coleman and Rabon to come in with runs six and seven. A  Chase Galloway single made it 8-0 before Legrand scored the ninth run on a wild pitch.

The guests added a run in the seventh as Dorton drew a leadoff walk and later scored on Coleman’s two-out single to center to make it 10-0.

Coleman paced the nine-hit L-E offensive attack with two hits while driving in four runs. Rabon and Galloway also had two-hit nights for the Demons who improved to 5-4 on the season.

On Wednesday, the Demons fell to Dutch Fork, 11-6, in a non-league game.

Braves take down North Central: Cheraw hung up a seven spot in the bottom of the first and never looked back in handing visiting North Central a 10-4 loss on Friday in Chesterfield County.

The visiting Knights were forced to battle from the early hole and scored one in the third and a pair in the fourth to close the gap to 7-3.

In the third, Keaton Gardner drilled a one-out triple to right and scored the first NC run on a passed ball. An inning later, Tyler Faulkenberry drew a leadoff walk before Jeremiah Jenkins followed suit with Kevin Smith being hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Dalton Truesdale’s two-out single to right drove in Faulkenberry while Jenkins came in with the third run after Cam Holley walked with the bags jammed. A line out ended the inning and the threat.

NC scored a run in the sixth to make it 7-4 as Gardner had a two-out single to left before scoring from first on Holley’s triple to the gap in left center.

Cheraw answered with a three-run bottom of the sixth to put this one away.

The Knights had seven hits in the loss with Holley having a single and a triple while driving in two runs. Gardner also had a two-hit night.

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