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Red-hot Demons take tourney title

KC squads preparing for postseason

Posted: April 17, 2017 4:12 p.m.
Updated: April 18, 2017 1:00 a.m.

This is the Lugoff-Elgin team which the South Carolina Baseball Coaches tabbed as the pre-season favorite in class 4A.

Using a second consecutive gem of a pitching performance from Jay Lynch, the Demons won the Kershaw-Richland Wooden Bat Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Chapin in last Thursday’s championship game played at Memorial Stadium in Columbia.

The victory was the ninth in a row from Randy Stokes’ troops which received a complete game one-hitter from Lynch who, in his previous start, shut out Camden on two hits in a 5-0 victory. Against Chapin, Lynch fanned 10, walked five and never allowed an Eagle runner to advance to second base.

“That was as good as I’ve ever seen Jay throw,” Stokes said of Lynch’s performance. “The velocity on his fastball was in the 86 to 89 (miles per hour) range. He was getting people out with his fastball all night.”

The Demons (15-6) gave Lynch the run support he needed by pushing across one in the top of the third as J.C. Legrand doubled to the gap in right center and scored from third on Noah Rabon’s sacrifice fly to center.

Chapin catcher Tanner Steffy ended Lynch’s no-hit bit with a single in the fourth and came to the plate in the fifth with two outs and a runner on first. Steffy then hit a shot to Legrand at shortstop, who made a backhanded stab of the liner and flipped to Zac Branham covering second to end the threat and the inning.

Justin Dorton led the L-E offense with two hits.

With the first round of the state playoffs scheduled to begin next week, Stokes said his team is hitting its stride at the perfect time.

 “We’re playing our best baseball, right now,” he said of his team’s recent tear. “Our pitching performances have been outstanding; that is kind of what’s making us go. We’re also playing well defensively which has helped us, as well.”

The Demons were represented on the all-tournament team by Bradwin Salmond, Chase Roberts and Lynch. Roberts, a junior Clemson commit, won the home run derby title while the L-E infield of Zac Branham, Garrett Cassady, Legrand and Rabon won the diamond drill challenge for infielders. John Bradley earned the team’s academic award.

L-E, which will finish second behind Hartsville in Region 6-4A, is scheduled to travel to meet Crestwood tonight before hosting the Knights in Friday’s regular season finale. Both games have 6:30 p.m. starting times. 

Due to player discipline issues, Crestwood forfeited its Thursday game with North Central for fifth place. Stokes said he was waiting to hear from CHS officials as to what further measures may be taken and if they will affect the two-game set with his team.

 

Camden goes deep twice; finishes third in tournament: Collecting a season-best 17 hits --- including a pair of home runs --- Camden took third in the tournament with a 13-10 victory over Dreher on Thursday.

The Bulldogs took a 5-2 lead by scoring three runs in the top of the fourth thanks to a three-run blast to left center off the bat of senior leadoff man Nick Butler. An inning later, junior Gus Allen crushed a three-run shot well beyond the fence in left center as part of a six-run inning which gave Camden an 11-9 advantage.

The Dogs tacked on two more runs in the sixth when Butler doubled in John Bailey, who led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Butler later came home on a William Cobb single.

Allen worked 1.1 innings of relief ball to get the mound win. Mikael Nelson came on in the fifth frame and would throw 2.1 innings of no-hit baseball with two strikeouts to get the save.

Butler led the offense for Denny Beckley’s charges with two hits in four at-bats while scoring three runs. His home run and double drove in four runs. Cobb had a two-hit, two-RBI game while Bailey had two doubles in three trips while Tyler Maxwell added a pair of singles.

Bailey represented CHS on the all-tourney team after having gone six-for-13 at the plate while scoring five runs and driving in a run. Cobb was the Bulldogs’ academic award winner. The senior, who has signed to play football at Limestone College, carries a 3.97 grade point average.

The Bulldogs lead Region 4-AAA with a 6-0 record heading into tonight’s contest at Indian Land, which comes following a Monday non-league game at Chapin. Indian Land will enter this evening’s 6:30 p.m. game sporting a 4-2 league mark. 

Camden will close conference and regular season action on Thursday when winless Columbia comes in for a 6:30 p.m. start.

 

North Central splits on Thursday: North Central was to have played Crestwood in the fifth place game but when the Sumter County entry had some personnel issues on their bus, the Crestwood coaches took disciplinary measures and decided to forfeit Thursday’s game to Robbie Cash and company.

Crestwood’s problems could affect its status for a pair of Region 6-4A games with Lugoff-Elgin this week.

Rather than sending NC home without a final day game, Dreher stepped in and played the Knights and handed them a 9-0 setback.

NC out-hit the Blue Devils, 7-6, with seven different players getting base hits.

Kevin Smith represented the Knights on the all-tourney squad while Keaton Gardner was NC’s academic award recipient.

The Knights have three home games this week --- including a pair of crucial 4-AA contests --- to close the regular season.

Tonight, Chesterfield comes to town for a 6:30 p.m. start while Central heads to Boonetown Friday for a 6:30 p.m. game as the hosts try and improve their postseason stock as the Knights try and play their way into a second place finish in Region 4-AA with wins in those two conference games.

On Wednesday, the Knights will welcome Camden Military Academy to Boonetown for a 6 p.m. Senior Knight start.

 

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