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Lancaster American Legion Post 31 baseball coach Quinton Rodgers was hoping to better the team’s 2011 record of five wins this season.
Rodgers, in his first season as the P-31 skipper, did that and more.
The Lancaster team finished third in the state after falling to Florence Post 1, 8-5 on Tuesday night in the S.C. American Legion baseball state tournament in Greenwood.
“We had a great year,” Rodgers said. “I knew we had a good group and I felt we could have a better season than last year, and this season was outstanding, our first season in the state tournament since 2007.”
Florence won the state title with a 9-1 win over West Columbia on Wednesday after WC edged Florence, 3-2 to force the second game, in which Florence posted the eight-run win.
Florence advances to the Southeast Regional in Sumter.
“We just have a good group of players who played well together,” Rodgers said. “Really, a group which played with a lot of heart and got the most of their abilities.”
Lancaster, which went 2-2 in the double-elimination tournament, appeared to have Florence’s number.
Post 31, which went 23-10, held a 5-0 lead after five innings, but Florence ignited to score six runs in the sixth inning and added two runs in the eighth to take the three-run win.
“We had them on the ropes,” Rodgers said.
Lancaster broke on top in the third inning when Bobby Delly doubled home Devin Rodgers.Two innings later, Lancaster stretched its lead to 5-0 with a four-run fifth inning.
Florence came back in the sixth with six runs.
Florence’s Zack Shields drilled a two-run double and Mason Edwards had a RBI-triple. Tallon Turner had a RBI-hit and Turner later scored on a passed ball in the inning to give Florence the lead for good, 6-5.
Two insurance runs in the eighth, aided by a pair of errors, sealed the Florence win.
“In that sixth inning, three walks hurt us and in the eighth, we had a couple of errors which helped their rally,” Rodgers said.
Chandler Gardner, who took the loss in five frames of work, allowed six runs, six hits and four walks. He fanned five. Kendall Knight went three innings and allowed three hits and two runs. He fanned one batter.
Devin Rodgers, who batted .400 for the tournament, had three hits and scored twice to pace the Lancaster attack.
Bobby Delly drilled two doubles and drove in a run. Tyler Rodgers had two hits and a RBI. Trey Payne and Brien Clyburn each added a hit.
Post 31, the League V regular-season runner-up after falling to Rock Hill in a special play-off game, defeated Inman and state tournament host Greenwood in back-to-back five-game series, winning each 3-2.
Lancaster was in the state tournament for the first time since 2007.
Rodgers said he was grateful for the support.
“Our team parents and fans were behind us all the way this season,” Rodgers said. “They made a big impact with their support.
“We owe a big thanks to Brad Munn of Liquid Money who helped us with our transportation to Greenwood,” Rodgers said. “It made a big help. We’re also grateful for the team sponsors and their support.”