YOUTH BASEBALL

Sumter National 9-10 team hopes glove work will help in state

Defendign their turf

By DENNIS BRUNSON dennis@theitem.com
Posted 7/11/18

The Sumter National 9-10 year-old AAA all-star baseball team certainly had its moments of offensive prowess in winning the District 9 tournament at Patriot Park SportPlex last month. Offense, however, is not what manager Knowl Davis considers to be …

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YOUTH BASEBALL

Sumter National 9-10 team hopes glove work will help in state

Defendign their turf

Posted

The Sumter National 9-10 year-old AAA all-star baseball team certainly had its moments of offensive prowess in winning the District 9 tournament at Patriot Park SportPlex last month. Offense, however, is not what manager Knowl Davis considers to be the strength of his team.

"I think we're a little stronger defensively than anything else," said Davis, whose team will be playing in the state tournament in Moncks Corner on Saturday. "We've been able to make the plays, and that has been a big advantage for us. We've just been a strong fielding team."

Sumter National will take on District 11 champion Green Sea Floyds at noon at Moncks Corner Regional Recreation Complex. The tournament features 16 teams playing in two 8-team, double-elimination brackets. The two bracket winners will play a best-of-3 series to decide the state champion.

Davis likes the progress his squad has made from when it first came together to where it is heading into the state tournament.

"All of the coaches feel like we've continued to get better as we go along," said Davis, whose squad went 5-0 in winning the district. "We think we've gotten better as the days have gone by. It's hard to gauge when you're not playing against anybody, but we feel like we've been making steady progress."

Along with the strong defense, Davis believes he has pretty good pitching to complement the defense.

"We've got four or five guys that we think can do the job for us on the mound," Davis said. "They throw strikes and don't walk a lot of batters. They like to compete, like to battle. They are not afraid to be in pressure situations."

Davis said the pitchers who'll handle most of the innings for National are Bodie Bowden, Ayden Gibbons, Marion Davis, Owen Barkley and Matthew McKinnon. Manager Davis pointed out though that he has other arms he can go to if needed.

Sumter National found itself in some tough situations in the district. It needed to score three runs in the top of the sixth inning to beat Sumter American 6-4 in the championship game. Manager Davis hopes the competitiveness of the district will pay dividends in the state tournament.

"In three of the five games we played, they were very tight," he said. "We had the two games against Sumter American and the one against Lake Marion that were very tight. You'd like to think being in games like that will help you in this."