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Dorton blanks M-S as P-17 wins seventh in row

Posted: June 20, 2018 4:46 p.m.
Updated: June 22, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

WILLIAM COBB HAD a double and drove in two runs in Kershaw County Post 17’s 4-0 win at Manning-Santee on Tuesday.

That train which is the Kershaw County American Legion baseball team keeps rolling along.

Getting a four-hit shutout from Justin Dorton, Post 17 extended its win streak to seven games with a 4-0 victory over Manning-Santee in a League III game played Tuesday night at the old Manning High baseball field.

The win gave Stephen Carmon’s charges a 7-1 record in league play heading into Thursday’s scheduled home game with Manning-Santee. The locals improved to 10-2 overall while M-S slipped to 2-3 in League III action.

Dorton, a Lugoff-Elgin graduate headed to play at Florence-Darlington Tech in the fall, allowed back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the first and then gave up a double and single in the seventh to earn his second win in as many decisions this season. The lefty fanned three and walked a batter in a tidy 86-pitch complete game outing while lowering his ERA to 1.79.

The win kept Dorton’s slate clean in American Legion ball over the past two years. Last summer, he led all KC pitchers with a 6-0 mound mark.

“They just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side against Justin,” Carmon said. 

“Justin was throwing strikes, working ahead of batters and letting our defense make the plays behind him. That’s his game. Justin’s not a strikeout guy; he just gets outs and he doesn’t walk people.”

The KC offense provided Dorton with all the run support he would need by jumping on Post 68 starter Chandler Evans for three runs in the top of the first.

Bradwin Salmond led things off with the first of his two singes on the night; this a liner to right. Todd Mattox followed with an opposite field single to right to put runners on first and second with no outs. Jake Laffin followed by sending a two-run double to right center. Laffin made it 3-0 when he came across the plate as William Cobb delivered a one-run double to right center.

After not having having played baseball since his senior year at Camden High in 2017, Cobb, who plays linebacker at Limestone College, has not missed a beat in returning to the diamond this summer.

“I didn’t know what to expect from him, production-wise,” Carmon said of Cobb. “I knew that with Cobb, you’re going to get that tough, productive player  who is going to give you 100 percent no matter what the score is and no matter how tired he is.

“We talked about that after tha game ... how well Cobb has done after missing a year of baseball. He’s come right in and has become one of our better hitters.”

M-S looked to turn this into a slugfest as Taylor Lee led off the bottom half of the first with a infield single which was followed by another base hit of the same variety from Braydon Osteen as it seemed as if the hosts were in business. 

Jake Jordan then was called on for a sacrifice bunt which he never got down as the pop fly was fielded by Dorton for the first out. Luke Stokes hit a grounder to Mattox at shortstop with Mattox stepping on second to force Osteen. The once-promising inning ended when Dorton picked off the courtesy runner for Stokes at first

After having pitched through bumpy opening frames, both pitchers settled down by throwing blanks over the next five frames with Dorton doing his counterpart one inning better. 

Evans got himself out of a jam in the fifth after Salmond delivered a one-out single to right and took both second and third on wild pitches only to be left stranded on third base when Evans got an inning-ending ground out.

The M-S starter would not be as fortunate in the sixth as the guests tacked on another insurance run with Noah Rabon leading the inning off with a single to left and then, stealing second. He came in with the fourth run on Cobb’s single in a frame in which the hosts used a double play on a fly ball to center and then gunning the tagging runner down at the plate to avoid further damage.

“(Evans) was throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs early in the game and our guys were on him,” Carmon said. “In that first inning, we must had three or four line drives that we jumped on by going after that first pitch.

“After that, he mixed things up a little bit and our guys got a little anxious and were trying to go after the fastball.”

Meanwhile, Dorton did not allow a Post 68 base runner beyond first base from the second through sixth innings.

In the bottom of the seventh, Stokes lined a one-out single to left and advanced to third when Evans followed with a single. Dorton would bear down, though, recording his third strikeout before catcher Chase Galloway picked off Evans, who strayed too far from the bag at first and was unable to get back before the throw to Cobb.

With Jay Lynch ready in the bullpen, Carmon was going to let Dorton face one more batter before he would be relieved by his cousin. Galloway’s throw to first base made that a moot point.

“Thankfully,” Carmon said, “Galloway picked that guy off first base so, it worked out perfectly for us.”

With his team carrying a seven-game win streak into Thursday’s game with Manning-Santee, Carmon said the 17ers are not satisfied. nor are they hitting on all cylinders, yet.

“We have our moments,” he said. “We’ve been pitching well lately. Offensively, I still don’t think that we have hit our peak. we have some guys that are struggling right now.

“Chase Galloway was our leading hitter last year at over .500 and has been struggling. He’s hitting the ball hard now, though. I told him to just keep working because those balls are going to fall for hits.

“Once we start clicking offensively, we’re going to be a pretty scary team.”

Keeping POSTed: The 17ers collected seven hits off Evans, who went the first 5.1 innings before Morgan Morris came on to finish the contest ... Cobb had a single and a double while driving home two runs. He is now hitting at a team-best .444 clip … Salmond, who will play at Spartanburg Methodist College next season, had another two-hit night as his average climbed to .378 ... Laffin, a rising senior at Lugoff-Elgin, collected his team-best 15th hit of the season while his two RBI gave him seven which is second to Salmond’s nine. He is batting .429 … As a team, Post 17 is hitting .300 … Dorton’s 1.79 ERA is second among the team’s starters behind Tate Abbott who has a 1.61 ERA … In other League III action on Tuesday, Sumter remained in second place in the six-team circuit with a 7-1 victory over winless Dalzell-Shaw to improve to 6-3 in league action. Lexington jumped a half-game ahead of idle Hartsville at 4-3 with a 10-6 road victory over Orangeburg … KC has a busy weekend on tap as it will play in the three-day Palmetto Legion  Invitational at Mike Johnson Park in Georgetown. Tonight, 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 … The League III season does not end until Tuesday, July 3. The first round state playoffs begins Monday, July 9.

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