The Robert E. Lee Academy baseball team is where head coach David Rankin thought it would be - the SCISA 2A state championship series - playing who he thought it would play - Pee Dee Academy.
"I felt like we were the two best teams, and I thought …
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"I felt like we were the two best teams, and I thought we'd be playing each other," said Rankin, whose squad lost to Pee Dee 2-0 in last year's championship series. "Now baseball is baseball and things can happen, but I thought we were the two best teams."
The best-of-3 series begins on Monday in Bishopville with a 7 p.m. start. The second game is scheduled for Tuesday in Mullins, also with a 7 p.m. start. A third game, if needed, will be played on Wednesday at a neutral site.
The teams played each other twice during the regular season, splitting the two games. The Cavaliers won 8-1 in Bishopville in March, while Pee Dee won 4-3 in Mullins in April.
"Neither team threw their best pitchers in either game," Rankin said. "That's a big difference."
The Cavaliers take a 23-3 record into the series, while the Eagles are 19-2.
Rankin is pleased with the way his team has performed this season.
"We've been playing pretty good defense all season," said Rankin, who has now guided REL to four of the past five championship series, winning in 2014. "Our pitching has been strong all year; we have a team earned run average under 2(.00). Pitching and defense has been our strengths."
Rankin plans to start Austin Windham on and will go with either Dustin Kennedy or Jenkins McCullum in Game 2.
In winning last year's series, Pee Dee won by the scores of 4-3 and 5-2.
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