When Sebastian Ducom stepped to the plate for the first time leading off the bottom of the sixth inning for the Sumter High School baseball team, he had one simple approach.
"I was just trying to do something right," Ducom said.
That he did, …
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That he did, leading off the inning with a double. His teammates, Bryce Spittle and Bryce Lyons, did something right as well, getting Ducom across the plate to give the Gamecocks a 4-3 victory over Socastee on Friday at Gamecock Field.
Not only was the victory the first of the season in five games for Sumter, it came in its Region VI-5A opener. The Braves, playing their region opener as well, fell to 0-5.
Ducom had come on to play second base in the top of the sixth inning when Drake Thames moved from second to the mound. He turned on a pitch from Socastee relief pitcher Dylan Kuehne, sending it down the leftfield line. The baseball hit at the base of the fence and Ducom rolled into second with the double.
"I was really trying not to think so much," Ducom said. "I was just trying to find something good to hit. When I hit it I thought it had a chance (to get out)."
It didn't, but that's where Spittle and Lyons came in to get Ducom to touch home. Spittle put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Ducom to third. Lyons came off the bench as well, pinch-hitting for Victor Brown. He delivered a hard hit fly ball to right that scored Ducom with the winning run.
"We've got a lot of guys who are still competing for jobs right now," said Sumter head coach Brooks Shumake. "It was great to have those guys come in and do what they did. They've all been working hard."
Thames pitched a scoreless seventh to pick up the victory.
Left-handed sophomore Ethan Brown started on the mound for the Gamecocks. He worked five innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out one. Sumter led 3-1 when he left the game.
"I thought Ethan did a good job for us tonight," Shumake said. "For a sophomore in his first region game, he gave us a good performance. We felt like we needed to get him out after the five innings, and we were in position to win the game."
Fellow lefty Josh Bryant replaced Ethan Brown in the sixth and struck out the first two batters he faced. However, he gave up two walks with a single in between to load the bases.
Bryant was replaced by Thames, who gave up a 2-run to Ethan Brekke to tie the game at 3-3.
Sumter got out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first against Braves starter Wesley Lane. Jackson Hoshour drew a leadoff walk and Jacob Holladay followed with a single.
Joey Pereira put down a sacrifice bunt that Lane fielded, but he threw the ball down the right field line. Both Hoshour and Holladay scored while Pereira reached third. With two outs, Pereira scored when Lane balked after Pereira broke for home.
Socastee got its first run in the second. Lane led off with a single and scored on a 2-out base hit by Bryson Reeder.
Sumter plays host to Carolina Forest on Tuesday in another region contest.
"This was a huge win for us," Shumake said. "The prognosticators had us fifth (in the 6-team region) and Socastee sixth, so this is a game we needed to win. We've got Carolina Forest coming up so our schedule doesn't get any easier."
Holladay is expected to start on the mound on Tuesday.
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