SUMTER — After suffering a gut-wrenching 10-9, 10-inning loss to Inman Post 45 on Sunday in the American Legion baseball state tournament, Camden Post 17 head coach Craig Smith was interested to see what kind of team he would greet for the 30-mile trip to Riley Park on Monday.
“I could tell when we met to ride the bus this morning they were ready to play,” said Smith, whose team let a late 6-2 lead slip away. “They took that loss personally, and they came ready to play.”
Camden put up five runs in the second inning and starting pitcher Grayson King tossed six innings of 1-run ball as it defeated Chapin-Newberry in an elimination game.
Post 17 improved to 24-7 and will play the loser of Inman and Florence today at 1 p.m. Chapin-Newberry, the defending state champion last year as Chapin-Irmo, finished with a 20-6 record.
C-N starting pitcher Pat Yoder retired the first four batters he faced, but the wheels quickly fell off after that. Bradwin Salmond drew a walk and Lawson Stokes followed with a single. Ethan Beasley followed with a double down the rightfield line to make it 1-0.
Christian Flick drew a walk to load the bases before Austin Hayes singled to left-center to drive in two more runs and make for a quick night for Yoder. Zack Ziesing relieved Yoder and got an RBI groundout from Russ Radcliff to make it 4-0. Blake Serpas came through with an RBI single to push the advantage to 5-0.
“Different game, different names, that’s kind of been our theme all year,” Smith said. “We’ve got 17 players on our roster and to win something like this you have to use them all. We had a lot of people do things for us today.”
Eight of the nine batters in the lineup had at least one hit as Camden finished with 12. Hayes had two hits, including a triple, two runs scored and two RBI, Radcliff had two hits and two RBI and Tyler Bower and Salmond both had two hits.
The right-handed King, along with a 3-inning save from reliever Elliott Campbell, made the big inning stand up. King wasn’t dominant as he allowed seven hits, walked five and hit another. However, he struck out nine and got big outs at important times.
“When the time comes where you have to make big pitches, my pitching coach (Will Dorton) has told me to throw the pitches with confidence,” said King, who was a red-shirt freshman at Francis Marion University this past season. “I just try to hit my spots.”
Chapin-Newberry left 15 runners on base. It left the bases loaded twice, once against King and once against Campbell, with the top half of its order up and just one out.
“We just didn’t get the big hits when we needed them,” said Chapin head coach DJ Roberts, whose squad was never retired in order and finished with 10 hits. “When you leave that many people on you’re not going to win too many games.”
C-N did get a couple of solo home runs. One came from Justin Hawkins, who had three hits, in the seventh that cut the lead to 6-2, and the other came from Landon Allison to lead off the ninth and make it 7-3.
“It would have been nice to have them with some runners on,” Roberts said.