View Mobile Site

Post 17 left to battle for second after 4-1 loss to league-leading Sumter

Posted: June 24, 2011 9:24 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2011 5:00 a.m.
C-I photo by Tom Didato/

TAYLOR LUNSFORD DELIVERS a pitch in Post 17’s 4-1 loss to Sumter Thursday. The lefty gave the locals six strong innings in his first start of the season.


Trying to throw a wrench into the Sumter attack, Kershaw County Post 17 head coach Curtis Johnson sent left-hander Taylor Lunsford to try and slow down the visiting Post 15 offense.

Lunsford was able to do just that, limiting Sumter to four runs in six-plus innings of work. Lunsford’s performance, however, was not enough as compared to the1-2 Sumter punch of J. Tyler Smith and Jordan Montgomery, who combined to allow the hosts just one run in a 4-1 Sumter victory Thursday at American Legion Park.

The loss was the third in a row in for KC, which fell to 10-5 in League III play and sat four games behind P-15 (14-1) and a game ahead of Manning-Santee (as of Thursday) for second place in the six-team circuit.

Lunsford, a rising junior at Lugoff-Elgin, is a pitcher who makes a living pitching to spots while throwing a variety of off-speed pitches with the fastball worked in, as well. He was more than effective in his first start of the season as he allowed the defending state champions only four hits before being lifted in favor of Zack Bowers, two batters into the seventh inning.

Johnson said Lunsford did all that the P-17 coaching staff could have asked out of him … and, then some.

"He threw the ball well … really well. This was a big outing for Taylor, confidence-wise," Johnson said of Lunsford’s performance. "He went out there and gave us a chance to win. We were right there in the game."

Johnson said that Lunsford (1-1) was going to be on the mound regardless of the score and give the 17ers a quality start in order to save some arms for the critical five-game stretch to end the regular season which opened Friday at Dalzell-Shaw.

"To be honest with you" Johnson said, "we almost can’t come in first. Sumter would almost have to lose out and, they’re a great ballclub and it’s probably not going to happen. You almost have to line it up to make sure that we have our (pitchers) ready for Dalzell, Cheraw, Manning and Hartsville."

Lunsford was more than able to slow down a potent Sumter offensive arsenal which had scored 54 runs in their previous three outings. For that reason, P-15 head coach Wallie Jones tipped his cap to the KC southpaw.

"We were anemic offensively," Jones said. "Give credit to their pitcher; he had us off-balance all night. We haven’t seen that kind of pitching this year. He made us look foolish, a lot."

Sumter broke a 1-1 tie by scoring a pair of runs in the third to give Smith a bit of breathing room. The right-hander would work his way out of a bases loaded with no outs jam in the fourth, all but taking the wind out of the KC sails. Smith allowed six hits in as many innings while fanning 10. Montgomery, a USC signee, came in to close this one out and allowed one hit while striking out six in three innings of work.

In three meetings with KC, P-15 pitchers have fanned 50 Post 17 batters.

On this night, Jones said he was less concerned with how many innings either Smith or Montgomery went. All he wanted to do was to come away with a win and move his team closer to winning another League III title.

"If we had a lead, we wanted to go ahead and close this game out," Jones said of the decision to bring in Montgomery. "(KC) is next in the league and (this win) gives us a little more breathing room."

Sumter got to Lunsford for an unearned run in the second which opened with an Andrew Reardon walk. After taking second on a wild pitch, Reardon was bunted over to third by Tyler A. Smith. Trent Pannell then drew a one-out walk, bringing up J. Tyler Smith, who was called on for a suicide squeeze. The bunt went up the first base line and was scooped up by first baseman Will Dorton, whose toss to the plate was dropped, allowing Reardon to come in with the night’s first run.

Lunsford avoided further damage when he got a fly ball to right field and then fielded a bunt and flipped the ball to catcher Brandon Faulkenberry for the force at home. Both plays came with the bases loaded.

KC answered by evening things with a run in its half of the second when Dorton worked Smith for a leadoff walk and scored when Ty Robinson followed with a triple to the gap in left center. But in what would be a precursor to the fourth frame, Smith bore down and used a pair of strikeouts to help get himself out of the jam.

The P-15s used up three of their five hits to score two runs in the third.

The guests got a kick-start from Zach Sherrill’s one-out single to left. Reardon followed with an RBI double to left center, driving home Sherrill with what proved to be the winning run. Reardon, who advanced to third on a wild pitch, scored on Tyler A. Smith’s single to right for the 3-1 lead.

KC’s last hurrah came in the fourth after a Kal Davis double was followed by a Dorton single. Robinson was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Smith then sandwiched a fly ball to shall center with a pair of punchouts to keep the lead at 3-1.

"That was, probably, what beat us offensively," Johnson said of the missed opportunity in the fourth frame. "Sumter beat us, obviously, but that’s the inning you look back on and say, ‘Man, if we get a hit there or a double to clear the bases, it’s a different game.’ That was the inning that beat us, but that happens."

Sumter tacked on a fourth run in the seventh after Cam Martin and Sherrill drew consecutive walks to chase Lunsford from the mound in favor of Bowers. Tyler A. Smith’s suicide squeeze bunt would allow Martin to come home without a play at the plate for a 4-1 lead.

Bowers, a rising sophomore at L-E, had another strong effort in a relief role as the right-hander gave up one hit while fanning two batters in three innings of work.

Smith and Montgomery combined to strike out 16 batters --- with Smith getting 10 of those --- while KC held a 7-5 edge in hits led by a pair of Blake Outlaw singles.

"We had a lot better of at-bats tonight than we’ve had the past couple days," Johnson said, alluding to losses to Manning-Santee and Cheraw earlier in the week. "We faced two good arms tonight; their numbers one and two (pitchers.)

"I know we struck out a lot tonight, but we had seven hits off two good arms and, there were other times where we hit the ball hard. We had good at-bats when we didn’t strike out. That’s what we’re looking for. You have to try to string good at-bats together because those guys aren’t going to walk many guys."

Despite coming away with the loss, Johnson said he was pleased with the effort after two sub-par performances to open the week.

"We played a lot better tonight than we have played lately," he said. "The last couple nights, we’ve been horrible, which is about the nicest thing that I can say about the way we played against Manning and Cheraw.

"Sumter might be the best team in the state and this was a game which could have gone either way. We’ve played them three times and we’ve been in it each time. I’m proud of the way our guys played tonight. I fully expect them to come out, play hard and come away with a ‘W’ (on Friday.)"


Keeping POSTed:

The highlight reel play of the night came courtesy of P-17 left fielder Jake Ansley, who took to the air to make a diving grab of a J. Tyler Smith line drive in the fifth which had extra bases written all over it … With five games left in the regular season, Johnson said he hopes his club got its one bad stretch of the season behind them. "We’ve played bad," he said, "now, we want to play well. You want to peak when you get into the playoffs. Obviously, we want to finish second." … Johnson did say that with P-17 playing a team from the Lowcountry, possibly Hilton Head, the first round playoff home games will start at 7:30 p.m., rather than 7 p.m. in order to give the visiting fans extra time to get to Camden.



Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

Contents of this site are © Copyright 2018 Chronicle Independent All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...