Sumter High School's varsity baseball team sent 15 men to the plate and scored 11 runs, including nine with two outs, in the third inning and Jordan Holladay closed with a 3-hitter as the Gamecocks thrashed West Florence 13-1 in five innings on Friday at Gamecock Field.
The Sumter third opened with the top of the lineup at the plate and it was the top four batters that did most of the damage against the Knights. Leadoff hitter Ryan Moore was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, two singles, a run batted in and three runs scored. Caleb Larrimore hit grounders to advance Moore into scoring position before being hit by a pitch in his second at-bat of the third, coming around to score his lone run of the night.
Holladay drew two of three intentional walks, with the other going to Dawson Price, before ripping a bases-clearing triple to right when the Knights were forced to pitch to him in the third. Rylan Williamson followed with a home run to left that brought Holladay home for the third time as all three intentional walks would turn into runs for the Gamecocks.
Price put himself in line for an intentional pass with a 2-out, 2-RBI single to left in his first plate appearance, scoring Moore and Holladay as SHS led 2-0 after one inning. Other key hits in the third included back-to-back 2-run singles for Joshua Sykes and Hampton Rowe, with WF pitching walking four, hitting a batter and contributing a throwing error in the decisive inning.
"The guys came out and they did a good job. They swung the bats well tonight," said SHS head coach Brooks Shumake, whose team advanced to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in Region VI-5A play. "What I was really happy about was we were able to get some timely hitting early in the game. Early on we had second and third and Williamson wasn't able to get it done in that particular at-bat, but then Price comes up and has his bat and drives in those two runs, which was huge for us to get off the bump there and get some runs in. Then, of course, later in the game Rylan hit himself a nice home run. So we were real excited that they were able to get the job done right there when they did."
Shumake said Holladay coming through in his only official plate appearance after not drawing a pitch in his first two times up was huge.
"It was good that he was able to get up there and deliver right there and clean the bases, so we're real happy about that," Shumake said. "He's going to get pitched around a lot this year and he's just going to have to focus when he does get pitched to with runners in scoring position and battle and drive runs in. We were able to just get on a little roll there and as a result of that, obviously, we were able to put the game away there."
WF starter Quincy Manning could not make it out of the third, ending with a final line of five hits, six walks, one strikeout and nine earned runs over 2 2/3 innings. Spencer Hare came on to close the third, surrendering a Moore single, the Holladay triple and the Williamson homer and hitting Larrimore and Price with pitches before finally inducing a Sykes fly ball to center to end the seemingly never-ending inning.
Holladay threw 68 pitches, striking out four and not allowing a hit through three innings. The Knights had two on in the third as Holladay walked two of the first three batters he faced before rallying for consecutive strikeouts of Jake Schwartz and Ethan White to end the threat.
WF's first hit was a single up the middle from Ryan Florio to open the fourth. Florio would be wiped out in quick fashion as Price, Sykes and Williamson combined on a 5-4-3 double play. Cooper Wallace would follow with a single to right-center before Manning grounded out to third to end the frame.
The Knights would finally break onto the scoreboard in the fifth, scoring one as Connor Smith drew a walk, took second on a Mason Shelor single to left, advanced to third as Carter Woodberry reached on an infield error and scored on a Schwartz grounder to first. Holladay would then induce grounders to first and third to end the game.
"All in all, I thought he gave a pretty good effort tonight," Shumake said of Holladay's mound effort. "He did struggle a little bit. He had three walks in five innings and we like him to have a little more command than that, but all in all he threw pretty well. We were proud of his effort. He did enough to hold them down, so that was good."
The Gamecocks continue region play on Tuesday, hosting Conway at 6:30 p.m.
"Right now we're just wanting to continue to build the chemistry," Shumake said. "I think our team right now is in a good place. Our guys are working hard and just trying to get better as baseball players, and hopefully these young men will continue to play well and enjoy themselves. We'll put our best foot forward and do our best and see what happens."