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17ers cap perfect week by knocking off Sumter

KC leads League III by two games with five left

Posted: June 18, 2018 3:19 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

POST 17 HEAD COACH Stephen Carmon (fourth from left) talks with several members of his team between innings of Thursday’s win over Sumter. Pictured, from left, are Justin Dorton, Bradwin Salmond, Hunter Coleman, Carmon, Zac Branham and Noah Rabon.

Stephen Carmon is not ready to make space on the mantle for a League III championship trophy just yet.

Carmon, the first year Kershaw County American Legion baseball coach, hardly cracked a smile when asked about a week in which Post 17 won four games in three nights capped by Thursday’s 6-5 victory over visiting Sumter at American Legion Park. KC’s second one-run win in as many nights over the P-15s --- P-17 won Wednesday’s game, 2-1 --- gave it a League III-best 6-1 mark and a two-game lead over second place Sumter which fell to 5-3 in League III play.

“Obviously, we want to win every game that we play,” Carmon said of the week that was. “I just told our guys that we were going to play four games in a row against two of the best teams in our league and the state, let’s go out and battle every single night and if we play harder than the other team does, I think we’ll like the end result.

“We did a good job this week. I’m proud of these boys.”

For the second time in as many nights, the P-15s threw a seventh inning scare into KC. This time around, the guests scored two runs in the two of the seventh to narrow the gap to 6-5 and had the tying run on second when KC reliever Bradwin Salmond got Ryan Moore to hit a line drive to shortstop Zac Branham to end the game and the threat.

“You want to get the tying run to the plate any time that you’re down and we had the tying run down on second base at the end of the game,” said Sumter head coach and former KC boss Curtis Johnson. “I’m proud of my guys, they competed.”

Jacob Holladay started the seventh by taking Salmond the opposite way for a leadoff single. Bobby Crisp then hit a blooper to Chris Rivers at second base whose throw pulled Jake Laffin off the bag at first as the P-15’s were in business with runners on first and second with no outs in a 6-3 game. Lathan Todd’s grounder to shortstop that forced Crisp at second and when the throw to first base missed the mark, it allowed Holladay to score from second to make it 6-4.

After getting Joey Periera looking on a called third strike for the second out, Salmond gave up a Daulton Dabbs RBI liner along the left field line which allowed pinch-runner Charlton Commander to score from second as Dabbs switched spots with Commander. Dabbs would be left hanging there following Moore’s rocket which was snagged by Branham who hardly had to move on the play.

“Bradwin did come in and made it close and tried to scare us a little bit,” Carmon said. “Thankfully, we did just enough to get the victory.

“I tell people all the time that Bradwin is just being Bradwin. He can do about anything. He’s so athletic and so baseball-smart. He understands the game and the moment never gets too big for him. He thrives in pressure situations. We felt comfortable that once Bradwin came in that we could win the game.

Salmond came on in relief of KC starter Jay Lynch with one gone in the top of the fifth with the hosts leading, 4-2. The right hander worked 2.2 innings of relief, allowing two unearned runs on three hits with two strikeouts while earning his third save.

Lynch, who improved to 3-0 and 8-2 in his two seasons with the 17ers, was tagged for two runs in the top of the first to open a game which started 53 minutes after its original 7 p.m. start due to lightning in the area. Holladay drew a game-opening walk with Crisp doing likewise. A passed ball allowed the two runners to advance. Todd’s ground out to second plated Holladay with the first run of the night while Crisp made it 2-0, scoring on a wild pitch.

Post 17 (9-2) scored one off Ryland Williamson, who went the distance for Sumter, in the bottom of the first as Branham was hit by a pitch with one out and scored on Noah Rabon’s two-out opposite field single to right.

KC took the lead for keeps with a three-run third. Josh Bone laced a leadoff double along the third base line before Salmond doubled in near identical fashion to even things at 2-2. With two gone, Rabon delivered an RBI single to center and went to third on an error on the sinking liner. He scored the fourth Post 17 run on a wild pitch.

After a shaky start, Lynch settled down but was nearly pulled by Carmon in the third inning after allowing a leadoff single to Crisp and having to work from behind after trailing 3-0 in the count against Todd who ended up lining to Josh Boone in center for the second out of the inning.

Carmon said he nearly went to get Lynch after two batters in the third and bring in Salmond earlier than he did. He said, thanks to getting quality starts from his starters the two previous nights, the 17ers had some wiggle room, pitching-wise.

“The only reason the leash was short today was because we had so many good pitchers available,” Carmon said. “I was trying to feel it out and I’m glad that we stuck with Jay as long as we did. Jay’s one of those guys who gets better as the game goes on. He definitely gave us a chance to win tonight.”

Carmon pulled the plug on Lynch’s start after Crisp sent a one-out double off the fence in right center. Todd then greeted Salmond with a sacrifice fly to center to trim the deficit to 4-3.

Sumter committed a pair of key errors in the fifth which led to a pair of unearned runs.

 With one gone, Salmond’s towering fly ball to third base was dropped. Branham followed with a single and both runners later scored on Rabon’s single to shallow center; those were his third and fourth RBI of the night.

“I told our guys that with two strikes on them, they have to put the ball in play,” Carmon said. “You put it in play and you give us a chance; the defense may make an error. But if you strike out, we don’t have a chance. 

“We put the ball in play tonight and, fortunately for us, they made three or four errors and we capitalized on them,” Carmon said.

Williamson scattered seven hits while fanning five and not walking a better. Offensively, Sumter managed eight hits on a night in which Johnson went to the bunt early and often to try and get runners into scoring position.

“We’ve struggled some offensively,” Johnson said. “We knew we weren’t going to be able to stand up there and pound out hits. We were trying to do what we could to keep the game close and, hopefully, win a one-run game.

“We missed some opportunities early in the game. They’re a good team. They’re well-coached and Stephen does a good job with them. We need to be able to execute early when we have chances.”

Led by Rabon’s three-hit, four RBI night, the 17ers got to Williamson for seven hits. After the win, Carmon said his squad would have the weekend off to recharge their batteries.

“We have two games (this) week to get ready for,” Carmon said of a home and home series with Manning-Santee which, in a schedule change, begins tonight at the old Manning High School field. “We haven’t won the league, yet, we still have five games left.”

 

Keeping POSTed: Due to a conflict with use of the field, tonight’s scheduled home game with Manning-Santee will be played in Manning with the Thursday’s pairing being played at American Legion Park in Camden. Both games start at 7 p.m. … Sumter has few open nights available and Johnson said he would stay in Camden for however long it took to get Thursday’s game in. The P-15s played three games in the North/South Tournament in Salisbury, N.C., last weekend, had games with Dalzell-Shaw on Monday and Tuesday nights before hosting the Palmetto Invitational beginning Wednesday at Riley Park in Sumter and playing six games in four days … With his 3-for-3 night, Rabon lifted his batting average nearly 70 points to .344 while his four RBI gave him five for the season … The 17ers played the game without starting shortstop Todd Mattox, who was on vacation but is expected back for tonight’s game … One would have to go deep into the Post 17 record books to find the last time the locals swept a season series from Sumter … KC has a busy weekend on tap as it will play in the three-day Palmetto Legion  Invitational at Mike Johnson Park in Georgetown. Friday, the locals meet Dansville, Ky., in a 5 p.m. start. Saturday will see back-to-back games starting at 11 a.m. with Greenwood before taking on League I-leading Goose Creek at 1:30 p.m. How the 17ers fare in those three games will determine against who and what time they play on Sunday … KC closes the regular season next week with three League III games beginning with a home game with Orangeburg on Tuesday, June 26 before hosting Dalzell-Shaw two nights later. KC travels to Orangeburg on Friday June 29.

 

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