The recent spate of late-afternoon rain storms which have popped up throughout the region have led to the second round Lower State American Legion series between Sumter and Murrells Inlet to having been postponed and playing sites moved for three nights.
The two sides were scheduled to have played the fourth game of their best-of-five series on Monday night at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach with Sumter leading the best-of-five series, 2-1. Should the hosts have won Monday’s rescheduled game, the fifth and final game of the series will be played tonight at 7 p.m. at Riley Park in Sumter.
The outcome of this series will affect Kershaw County Post 17, Horry County as well as Sumter and Murrells Inlet, in terms of the state tournament which will begin Saturday at Riley Park in Sumter.
Should Murrells Inlet win its series with Sumter, it will have played its ways into the eight-team state tournament while Sumter, since it is the host team for the state tourney, will earn an automatic berth into the event and will round out the eight-team field, thereby eliminating the need for two play-in contests.
If Sumter can close out Murells Inlet either Monday or tonight, it will create a three-team scramble for the final slot in Sumter between Post 17, Murrells Inlet and Horry County, which would have all lost their second round series. In the case of KC (11-8), the locals fell to defending American Legion World Series champion Chapin-Newberry in a three-game set which ended last Wednesday night. As for Horry County, it fell to Florence in four games.
Since both Murrells Inlet and Horry County would have had, at least, four post-season wins to KC’s three, that would mean the 17ers would be the third seed in the play-in format and would have to travel to play either Murrells Inlet and Horry County in the first game with the top seed waiting on the winner to meet for a trip to Riley Park. In either instance, KC will make one or, possibly two, trips to the Grand Strand unless state American Legion officials have other plans such as playing the game(s) at a neutral site or, on the same day; neither of which scenarios have been discussed.
As of press time Monday, first-year Post 17 head coach Tyler Pike said he had not received any calls from state American Legion officials as to when and where the play-in games would be contested should they be necessary.
Should the Sumter vs. Murrells Inlet series go five games, the earliest the play-in series could open would be Wednesday with the second game set for Thursday, leaving the survivor to scramble to get their plans for Sumter arranged, not to mention figuring out a pitching rotation for the state tournament.