Lugoff-Elgin, which entered the Kershaw-Richland Spring Break Tournament on the heels of learning it made the 5A state baseball playoffs, stayed on a roll by winning the eight-team event with a 15-6 victory over Region 4-5A foe Irmo in Thursday’s championship game played in Columbia.
The Demons, who extended their win streak to four entering tonight’s state tourney opener with visiting Northwestern, capped a final day in which all three Kershaw County teams left Columbia with wins. North Central finished a 2-2 stay in the tourney and to its season by defeating Dreher, 4-2 in eight innings, in the fifth-place game while Camden won its first game of the week by downing Gray Collegiate, 6-3, in the seventh-place contest.
Both Camden and Lugoff-Elgin will host state tournament openers tonight (see accompanying box.)
Here is a recap of Thursday’s final day’s contests:
Demons cruise to crown: Big innings, which have become a common thread for L-E in the second half of the season, continued as the Demons used a nine-run top of the fifth to blow open a 6-6 tie en route to the title.
Imo led, 5-1, after one inning before the Demons scored four in the second and another run in the third to go on top, 6-5. The Yellow Jackets knotted the game with a solo run in the third.
In the fifth, Randy Stokes’ squad sent 14 batters to the plate, using five hits including a three-run Sawyer Reeves bomb to turn things in their favor.
Brandon Lankford plated a pair of runs with a single to center. He scored on Mason Cassady’s double. Cassady and Ty Dooley scored on Reeves’ blast to make it 12-6. After J.C. LeGrand reached on an error, Will Morris sent a triple to left center before he scored on a wild pitch.
The Demons collected 12 hits on the night with Morris and Lankford having two each with Morris driving in three runs while Lankford plated a pair,
Witt Branham earned the mound win, working 5.2 innings in relief of starter Heath Stokes. Branham allowed a run on one hits while fanning four and walking two batters.
At the end of the tournament, Morris was selected as the most valuable player. The sophomore first baseman went 5-for-13 at the plate.
Knights close season on a high note: Playing their best baseball of the season in the tournament, North Central capped a break-even week --- which included a 5-4 win over rival Camden on Tuesday --- by knocking off 4A Dreher, 4-2.
In a game knotted at 2-2 after seven frames, Brandon Faulkenberry’s squad scored a pair in the top of the eighth with Tyler Faulkenberry sending a one-out double to left center. After Christian Bowers walked, Austin Bowers drove in the winning run with a single. Christian Bowers scored the fourth run on a ground out.
The Knights scored two runs without the benefit of a hit in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead. The Blue Devils evened things with a
solo run in the fifth which is the way things stayed until the eighth frame.
The Knights scored four runs on four hits with Dalton Truesdale driving home a pair of runs on the afternoon.
Tyler Faulkenberry worked four innings in relief of starter Jordan Hayes, who worked the first four innings. Faulkenerry did not allow a run while giving up two hits with three strikeouts and a walk.
Dogs close with a victory: After having dropped three games to start the tournament, Camden averted going winless by doubling up Gray Collegiate, 6-3, to finish seventh.
The Bulldogs led, 6-0, going into the bottom of the sixth after scoring four times in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead.
Andrew Leaird led off the Camden third with a single and scored on a Tate Abbott single to make it 2-0. With two gone, Brady White walked and went to third on McKenzie Barrineau’s single. A Bennett Caldwell single drove in a run while Jake Tanner’s bases loaded walk plated another run.
Camden scored its six runs on as many hits with Abbott having a single and a doubke while driving in a pair of runs.
Abbott went the first six innings for Denny Beckley’s squad on the mound, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts in the morning contest.
CHS, L-E softball kick off playoffs: Both the Camden and Lugoff-Elgin softball teams will begin state tournament play Thursday with second round games in the double-elimination event continuing on Saturday.
CHS, the third-place finisher in Region 4-AAA, travels to Seneca for Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. opener. L-E, the unbeaten Region 4-5A champion, hosts the Upper State at-large entry at 7 p.m. Thursday.