AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL

Sumter P-15's finish regular season with 4-2 victory over Florence

Sumter faces Hartsville in state playoffs starting Monday

BY TREVOR BAUKNIGHT
trevor@theitem.com
Posted 7/7/18

The Sumter Post 15 American Legion baseball team closed out its 2018 regular season in style on Friday, defeating Florence Post 1 4-2 on a comfortable evening for baseball at Riley Park.

Sumter …

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AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL

Sumter P-15's finish regular season with 4-2 victory over Florence

Sumter faces Hartsville in state playoffs starting Monday

Posted

The Sumter P-15's American Legion baseball team is set to start the state playoffs on Monday with a series against Hartsville, and the P-15's will be hitting the playoffs on a high note after closing out their regular season on Friday, defeating Florence Post 1 4-2 at Riley Park.

Sumter finishes its regular-season campaign with a 15-9 record, having clinched second place in League III with a victory over Lexington on Tuesday. Hartsville is the No. 3 seed.

Camden faces Lexington in the other side of the bracket, with the winners set to meet with a trip to the state tournament on the line.

Florence, the top-seeded team from League II, suffered only its fifth loss in 29 outings.

Sumter head coach Curtis Johnson said while the game against Florence had no bearing on the playoffs, it was important for his team to get a quality win.

"We played a quality competitor and played well," Johnson said. "It's good for us going into the playoffs, and I'm proud of our guys. (Florence) is a well-coached group and has a lot of good players - Coach (Derick) Urquhart does a good job with them. But I'm proud of our guys and the way we battled, and hopefully we'll get off on the right foot going into the playoffs."

Sumter players agree that the P-15's have come together as a team in recent weeks, and putting together a win over Florence was a good indicator of what they're capable of when they play clean baseball and work together to manufacture runs.

Catcher Daulton Dabbs said everybody has positive feelings heading into the playoffs.

"We came out tonight and played pretty well and finally beat them, so I think that gave everybody some confidence," said Dabbs, whose RBI single in the fifth gave Sumter its winning margin. "We saw some pretty good arms tonight, and we know we can hit anybody. We're trimming down the errors and playing more cleanly.

"Our coaches have had some talks with us about becoming a team, and I think that's had an impact," he said. "They've told us we're not going to stand in there and box with anybody. We're not going to hit home runs and doubles, so we're going to have to earn every run we get."

Shortstop Ryan Moore agreed.

"Our coaches tell us as a team we've got to pick the other guys up, and when we get on we need to get the big hit," he said. "The big hit is kind of the thing that's been holding us back all year, and tonight we got them. It took us a while to get over the hump. Tonight, we played a clean game, and that was huge for us. We're just getting into the right mentality whenever we're going into games, and I think we're there now."

Daniel Twitty earned the win on the mound after coming on in a 2-2 game in the fifth after starter Josh Bryant gave up a walk and hit a batter. Twitty struck out three and gave up only a single hit the rest of the way.

Bryant gave up two hits in the first as Florence broke on top 1-0, but Sumter manufactured two runs in the third on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Crisp and an RBI single by Dabbs.

Florence responded with a run in the fourth as Bryant gave up back-to-back hits, a sacrifice bunt and a walk before Post 1 tied the game at 2-2 on a wild pitch.

The inning might have been worse, but Rylan Williamson snagged a hot grounder up the first base line, stepped on the bag and fired home to Dabbs, who applied the tag to Florence's Dee McElveen in time to prevent any further damage.

Sumter roughed up Florence reliever Drake Adams in the fifth when Trey Yates drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Holladay and scored on an RBI double by Moore. Moore scored on a single by Dabbs for the game's final run.