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The bulk of the American Legion summer baseball spotlight usually falls on the Post 31 senior baseball team simply because of its seniority.
The senior team has fielded a squad since the mid-1940s, while the junior team is in its fourth campaign.
No matter, the junior team stole the Lancaster Legion baseball spotlight this season.
The junior team, under the leadership of second-year head coach Michael Anderson, made Lancaster Legion baseball history. The juniors, who finished second in the League V regular-season race, earned a first-ever bid to the state tournament.
In the state field, Lancaster had quite a run as it went 2-2 and finished in the top three.
Lancaster earned its first-ever state tournament berth, defeating Rock Hill Post 34 in a best-of-three series. Rock Hill finished third in the League V regular-season race, a notch below Lancaster.
Lancaster, seeded fifth in the state tournament, opened tournament play, falling to Conway.
Lancaster then faced a do-or-die task as it battled tournament host Lake City, but stayed alive with a 13-3 win.
Post 31 couldn’t celebrate much as League V rival Gaffney was next up in another elimination game.
During the regular season, Gaffney had defeated Lancaster twice in three games.
Lancaster turned the tables with a 6-2 victory over Gaffney to end Post 109’s season and send them home.
Back-to-back clutch wins put Post 31 in another elimination game as it faced top-seeded Sumter.
Sumter took an early lead and kept the upper hand to end Lancaster’s season.
“It was quite a season,” Anderson said. “Our players came through with some tough wins and boosted our tradition in American Legion baseball. For a young program, we’ve come a long way.”
P-31 athletic officer Mike Lucas saluted Anderson and his team.
“Our players and coaches were determined to have a great season and they did,” Lucas said. “They’re talented and work hard. They did an excellent job of representing our program.
“They also come from good families and their play, attitude and sportsmanship are a reflection of that environment,” Lucas said. “It they stick with it and continue to work hard, I look for them to make another strong run in the future.”
For now, the Post 31 juniors, which includes players from the Lancaster, Buford and Andrew Jackson areas, can be quite proud of what they accomplished. Like many, we share in that diamond pride.