For whatever reason, the Kershaw County Post 17 baseball team seems to relish playing from behind before getting into gear.
That trend continued in Monday’s first game of Post 17’s second round state American Legion playoff series in which it trailed, 1-0, before scoring four in the fourth and adding another three an inning later to take a 7-2 win over visiting Orangeburg at American Legion Park in Camden.
Second-year KC head coach Stephen Carmon said getting in an early hole hardly fazes his experienced squad.
“Our guys do a good job of not getting down when we’re behind,” Carmon said.
“We do such a good job offensively of getting guys on base and getting runners in. I knew it was going to happen for us throughout the game. We just need to keep doing what we do and keep working on having good at-bats. In a seven-inning game, we’re going to get hot and we’re going to score some runs.”
Another trend, but hardly a recent one, was the fact that starting pitcher Justin Dorton won for the 20th time in as many decisions in two-plus summers of playing for the 17ers. The 2018 Lugoff-Elgin grad improved to 7-0 on the season by working six innings of eight-hit, two-run baseball. The lefty threw 79 pitches before handing over to Jake Tanner to start a seventh inning which was closed by Alex Canino.
Dorton was making his first mound appearance in 14 days for a KC squad which had not played a game in a week. After a bumpy start Dorton settled down. When Post 4 did get runners on base, Dorton made them pay for it as he picked off four runners on the evening.
“Justin started off a little rough,” Carmon said of Dorton’s problems in the early going on Monday. “I wouldn’t say that he was his normal self, as far as accuracy goes. He was a little bit wild, which is a little unusual for him.
“Justinn was his normal self when they got guys got on base. He got locked in and when they got runners got on base, he helped himself out with pickoffs.”
Post 4 got to Dorton for a solo run in the second which Hunter Bauer made stand through three frames before the hosts’ bats woke up in the fourth.
With one gone in the bottom of the fourth Da’Avion Sumpter drove a double to left and scored from there when Jake Laffin followed with an RBI single to left. After John Lanier walked, a two-base error on a Sawyer Reeves comebacker put runners on second and third. A wild pitch plated Lanier while Reeves landed on third for Noah Rabon who stayed hot at the plate with a line drive single to left to put the 17ers on top, 4-1.
An inning later, KC used the long ball to score all three of its runs.
Brady White led off the inning with a single to center. Khyree Miller followed by drawing a walk. Bauer looked to be out of the mess in retiring the next two batters only for Lanier to send a 3-run blast to centerfield to hike the lead to 7-1.
Orangeburg made things interesting as the guests opened the top of the seventh with four straight singles. Canino minimized the damage by getting a pair of fly ball outs followed by a game-ending ground out with the bags filled.
Post 4 out-hit the 17ers, 11-9, with White and Lanier each having two-hit nights for KC.