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Sumter denies KC Jrs. trip to state tournament

Posted: July 19, 2018 9:44 a.m.
Updated: July 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.

SUMTER -- After losing just two games entering the second round of the Junior American Legion baseball playoffs, Sumter entered play on Wednesday looking to avoid a potentially season-ending two-game losing streak in its best-of-three series against Kershaw County.

For six innings, it didn’t look good for the Junior P-15’s.

Then came a six-run rally in the seventh and Sumter was suddenly a 7-6 winner and heading back to the state tournament for the second consecutive year.

After managing just one run off KC starter Carson Barrett through six innings, the P-15’s worked their way deep into the Post 17 bullpen, sending 10 batters to the plate to face three pitchers in the seventh.

Hagerty opened and closed the inning, with very different results in the two at-bats. Barrett retired Hagerty on a fly ball to short to open the frame, but the KC starter struggled mightily from there. Victor Brown singled to left before Barrett hit Wylie Coker with a pitch to load the bases.

Barrett would then balk home a run before a Dustin Kennedy single loaded the bases once again. Bryce Lyons lined a double to left, plating two to cut the KC lead to 6-4. After Barrett retired Tanner Epps on a pop to second, S.B. Ducom came to the plate as the potential tying run. Ducom drew a walk, representing the last batter of the night for Barrett.

Mason Cassady came on only to hit Josh Burns with a pitch and walk Austin Trapp, setting up Hagerty’s second at-bat of the inning. Austin Bowers came to the mound, hoping to preserve a Post 17 win, but Hagerty lifted a ball into shallow right-center that KC right fielder Heath Erwin dived for but came up empty on, allowing Ducom and Burns to race home with the tying and winning runs.

After running themselves out of a potential first-inning rally as Wylie Coker was thrown out at third for the final out, Sumter took a 1-0 lead in the second as Burns reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored as Trapp tripled to left.

KC, which closed its season with a 13-9 record, pushed across three unearned runs as Sumter committed two errors that contributed to two runs in the third and a wild pitch that added the third Post 17 run in the fourth.

Trailing 3-1 entering their half of the fourth, the P-15’s loaded the bases with one out but had nothing to show for it. After a Josh Burns walk, Austin Trapp single to left and Xavier Brown single up the middle, Victor Brown grounded to first, resulting in Burns being thrown out at the plate. Wylie Coker followed with a grounder to short that ended the threat.

The sting of that missed opportunity was sharpened as KC struck for three runs in its half of the fifth, stretching its lead to 6-1. Sumter starter Austin Trapp walked the last batter he would face, Heath Stokes, before Coker came on to hit the only two batters he would face. Cody Windham came on and surrendered a two-run double down the third-base line to Jake Tanner. Cody Nelson added a sac fly to left to plate the final Post 17 run as Cassady came home from third.

Sumter won the odd-numbered games in the series, taking the opener, 3-1, and then Wednesday’s finale. KC took game two, 12-8.

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