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After a couple of nail-biters, the Lancaster Post 31 junior baseball team put the hammer down on Gaffney.
In doing so, the Lancaster Post 31 junior baseball team left no doubt about its postseason intentions.
The P-31 juniors, 15-3, rolled to a 15-5 win in five innings to earn a berth to the American Legion juniors state baseball tournament in Florence.
The League V champion P-31 team spotted Gaffney a 3-0 lead, but Lancaster responded with a four-run rally in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead for good, 4-3.
After holding Gaffney scoreless in the top of the second, Lancaster ignited for eight runs to forge an insurmountable 12-3 lead.
Gaffney scored two in the third inning to make it 12-5, but P-31 added a single run in the bottom of the third and two in the fifth to close out the win under the 10-run mercy rule.
Doopy Cloud, the winning pitcher in Lancaster’s 8-7 win over Gaffney on Wednesday night, drilled a two-run double down the left-field line to score Kholby Pate and Cody Cooper with the decisive runs.
“Kholby and Cody came off the bench to give us two hits to set it up for Doopy who ended the game with his double,” Lancaster coach Brant Barnes said. “We fought hard tonight and took care of business.”
Gabe Glover, who worked four innings in relief of starter Chandler Neal, was the winner.
Glover, 1-0, allowed no hits and five walks. Neal worked an inning and yielded three runs, four hits and a walk before giving way to Glover.
“Gabe came in and gave us a fine job on the mound,” Barnes said. “It was a solid effort”
Lancaster produced 11 hits, with Trey Payne, who had a strong game at shortstop, drilling two hits and scoring two runs.
Chandler Gardner had a single, double and tallied two runs.
Cloud had a double and drove in two runs. Neal added a double and scored a run for the winners.
Glover had a hit and scored two runs. Wyatt Duncan, Sid Watson, Cooper and Pate each had a hit and scored a run.
Kendall Knight scored two runs and Brandon Cato tallied a run.
Lancaster opened the best-of-three series, dropping a 4-2 home loss to Gaffney on Tuesday, but rebounded with an 8-7 road win over Gaffney.
Barnes said Lancaster’s banner season is due to a team effort.
“Our athletic officer, Scott Cato has done an outstanding for our program this season,” Barnes said. “Our parents and fans have given us tremendous support along with the Centerfield Gang. Those fans in center are always there to give us a lift.
“I also appreciate the work of our assistant coaches, Quinton Rodgers and Palmer Hudson. Those guys are a major reason we won the league title and are going to play in the state tournament.”
Lancaster opens play in the state tourney in Florence on Saturday.
The P-31 juniors might also play in a second-round series with the Union-Rock Hill series winner this week to determine state tournament seeding.