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Sharks use 9-run opening frame to top L-E, 11-6
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St. James scored nine first inning runs --- five before the first out of the game was recorded --- and then, held on for an 11-6 win over Lugoff-Elgin in Thursday’s opening round of the 4A Lower State baseball tournament.

L-E trimmed the deficit to 9-5 after having scored four times in the bottom of the first inning before adding another run in the fourth. The visiting Sharks added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh in a contest in which the two sides combined to commit 10 errors with the winners having six of those.

In advancing to the winners’ bracket, the Sharks scored nine runs on four hits while taking advantage of three walks, two hit batters and a trio of Demon errors while sending 15 batters to the plate in the top of the first.

L-E got four of those runs back in its first at-bat against SJ starter Anthony Peck.

Zac Branham touched off the rally by reaching on a two-base error to lead things. He scored on a Justin Dorton single. A Bradwin Salmond walk and Noah Rabon getting on with a fielders’ choice had Demon runners on first and second with two gone. Josh Boone singled in Salmond with the second run while Rabon and Boone came home on two of the first three Shark errors of the inning.

Hunter Coleman, who came on in relief of Branham with two gone in the first, would hold the guests at bay until the top of the seventh. A senior right-hander who signed to play baseball at Kentucky Christian, Coleman worked 6.1 innings in relief, allowed two runs on three hits while fanning four and walking a batter.

The hosts narrowed the gap to 9-6 by scoring a run off Peck in the fourth as Mason Cassady reached on an error, stole second, took third on a ground out and scored on Dorton’s second RBI single of the night.

Trailing 11-5, L-E ended the contest with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Salmond led off with a single and landed on third base with the two-base error. He made it an 11-6 final when he crossed the plate on a Jake Laffin ground out.

Both team had seven hits on the night with Boone, Dorton and Salmond collecting a pair each.