The Sumter High School varsity baseball team will look to start off on the right foot in Region IV-5A play when it takes on Lugoff-Elgin in a 3-game series beginning on Monday.
Monday’s game will be on the road, Wednesday’s matchup will be at Sumter High and Friday’s tilt will be back at Lugoff-Elgin.
With just a 5-team region, the teams are playing 3-game series in order to play 12 region contests.
“They’re a solid team,” Sumter baseball head coach Brooks Shumake said of Lugoff-Elgin. “They play good baseball. They have a tradition, they have several state championships and have talent. We saw them play in a preseason tournament.”
Shumake is referring to the Naturchem preseason tournament in Lexington, a tournament in which the Gamecocks defeated defending 5A state champion Dorman.
“We look forward to see how we match up against them,” Shumake said of Lugoff-Elgin. “We’ll go in there and compete. (Lugoff-Elgin head coach) Randy Stokes is a good friend of mine.”
Senior pitcher Seth Posey (1-1, four strikeouts, 3.50 earned run average) will start on Monday for the Gamecocks, senior pitcher Jacob Holladay (1-0, five strikeouts, 2.90 ERA) will be on the mound on Wednesday. Shumake is still undecided on who will start on Friday.
The Gamecocks are 2-2 on the season, with wins over Hartsville and Dorman and losses against River Bluff and Lexington. Sumter was supposed to have a game against West Florence on Saturday, but it was canceled.
“Morale is good,” Shumake said. “They work hard, have chemistry and enjoy going to the park every day. They’re sponges right now. They’re trying to figure out a way to win ball games.”
Shumake has a plethora of players he can rely on this season.
“We have several players who can be impactful for the team this year,” he said. “Jacob Holladay can be one of our main line pitchers. He’s a rightfielder when he doesn’t pitch and hit .435 last year. (However), he’s had a slower start this year.”
So far this season, Holladay is hitting .250 with two hits and two runs batted in.
“(Junior centefielder) Jackson Hoshour has made strides as a hitter; he’s an athletic kid and can run,” Shumake said. “(Senior shortstop/pitcher) Drake Thames is swinging the bat well for us. (Senior catcher) Sebastian Ducom is on fire right now; he’s swinging the bat with a lot of confidence.”
Hoshour is batting .250 with three hits and two RBI, Thames is hitting .364 with four hits and one RBI, and Ducom is hitting .625 with five hits and two RBI.
Shumake said he thinks Holladay and senior pitcher Josh Bryant will be starters for the team this year, with the third pitcher in the rotation still questionable.
Bryant has been limited by an injury in the early going.
“Drake could be one of our starters,” Shumake said. “He or Seth Posey.”
Shumake is excited about the team.
“I love our team this year,” he said. “They’re a great bunch of young men. Our staff enjoys being with them daily. (We’re looking forward to) competing this year and going out and going out and enjoying the game of baseball.”