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Sumter forces fifth and deciding game with 6-5 win

Posted: July 23, 2018 1:25 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

JAIDEN GARNER HAD ONE of Post 17’s five hits in Friday’s 6-5, nine-inning loss top Sumter at Riley Park.

SUMTER --- After a reprieve from one-run games on Thurday, the Sumter and Kershaw County American Legion baseball teams were right back at it on Friday.

Needing a victory to stay alive in the second-round state playoff series after a 9-6 loss to KC on Thursday at Legion Field in KC, the P-15s used a Rylan Williamson double and a Bobby Crisp sacrifice fly to win 6-5 in nine innings at Riley Park.

The victory evened the best-of-five series at 2-2 heading into Saturday’s series finale. This will be the seventh and final meeting between Post 17, which fell to 22-7 on the season, and 20-11 Sumter. The first four games were all decided by one run before the 17ers broke that streak on Thursday.

The P-15s appeared on the way to making it two games in a row as it led 4-0 going into the fifth inning. However, KC scored five runs in the top of the inning before Sumter tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Neither team scored again until the P-15’s pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Williamson led off with a double down the left field line against Post 17 relief pitcher Hunter Coleman, who had pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief up to that point. 17ers head coach Stephen Carmon chose to bring hard-throwing Bradwin Salmond to the mound. Joey Pereira laid a bunt down the third base line, and Salmond’s feet went out from under him, giving Pereira a single.

Crisp followed with a medium fly ball to center field that was plenty deep to deliver Williamson, who tagged up and scampered home with the winning run.

“I’m proud of my guys and the way they competed,” said Sumter head coach Curtis Johnson. “Rylan leading off the inning with the double was huge, and Bobby came up there and gave us what we needed.”

That made a winner out of left-hander Josh Bryant, who relieved starter Lathan Todd with two outs in the top of the seventh when Todd reached his pitch count. Bryant came in with a runner on third and Salmond, KC’s leadoff hitter, at the plate. Bryant got Salmond to ground out to end the inning and followed with two innings of scoreless relief.

“Josh came in and did what he does,” Johnson said. “He competed and he’s not afraid. He threw all of his pitches for strikes.”

Todd deserved a better fate. He took a no-hitter into the fifth, but by the time he got back into the dugout, he was trailing 5-4.

William Cobb led off the inning with Post 17’s first hit. After Todd recorded an out, Noah Rabon singled. Todd then struck out Chris Rivers before Jaiden Garner singled to load the bases. Todd looked to be out of the inning unscathed when he got Josh Boone to hit a ground ball, but third baseman Daulton Dabbs couldn’t handle it. The ball ended up in left-center with two runs scoring to make it 4-2.

After just missing a three-run home run on a foul ball, Salmond singled to drive in Garner and make it 4-3. Todd Mattox followed with a single to center that easily scored Boone, and when center fielder Chandler Hunter was slow getting to the ball, Salmond came all the way around from first with the go-ahead run.

“We’ve got to make defensive plays when we get the opportunity,” Johnson said. “That will be one of the keys (Friday.)”

Todd ended up going 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one while allowing five hits and no earned runs.

The P-15s managed to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Crisp led off with a double down the right field line against 17ers starter Zac Branham. Crisp was sacrificed to third by Cory Blackley and scored on a Hunter single.

The P-15s broke through for their first four runs in the second inning. They did so with a couple of clutch at-bats with two outs, something that has been in short supply at times this season.

Pereira drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second by Crisp. Blackley blooped a double down the right field line, but Pereira could only get to third as he had to hold up in case the ball was caught. He came in though on Hunter’s opposite-field single to left.

Trey Yates was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After Jacob Holladay took a called third strike for the second out, Ryan Moore drew a four-pitch walk to force Blackley in with the second run.

Daulton Dabbs battled Branham, working him to a 3-2 count while fouling off four pitches. On pitch No. 10 of his at-bat, Dabbs lined a pitch into left that delivered Hunter and Yates.

The P-15’s had a chance to blow the game open in the fourth, but instead found itself trailing the next time it came to the plate.

Holladay reached on an infield single to start the inning before Moore hit a grounder back to Branham on the mound, who turned to throw to second. However, shortstop Mattox didn’t catch the ball. Dabbs then beat out a bunt to load the bases. Branham got out of the inning without a run scoring. He got Williamson to line out to Rabon at third base and coaxed Pereira into hitting into an inning-ending double play.

Sumter out-hit Post 17, 12-5. KC received a hit each from William Cobb, Salmond, Mattox and Garner.

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