It’s hard to explain what happened at Ed Prescott Field on Friday.
Damn near impossible. Laurens head baseball coach Tori Patterson couldn’t.
The Raiders needed one victory over Lugoff-Elgin, which they had beaten 12-4 on Monday. They couldn’t score a run. The Demons won the first game 3-0 and second 4-0. Lugoff-Elgin (17-13) will advance into Class 4A’s Upstate bracket instead of Laurens (18-10).
“I told the guys, ‘We haven’t sucked all year.’ I hate it had to happen [tonight],” Patterson said. “It’s tough to live with, but we just didn’t have it, and there’s not a whole lot you can do.
“We got one runner to third in two games, and if you told me we’d play 14 innings and not score a run, I’d have told you you were crazy.”
First baseman Austin McNuer stood almost alone. He stroked 2 singles in both games. The rest of the team was a combined 6-for-44 (.136).
It’s not that the Raiders weren’t trying. The emotion that flowed after the two losses was painful to watch. Somehow they looked listless in spite of the importance of it all. A run scored – and almost another – because a wild pitch escaped catcher Zak Rice and the pitcher didn’t cover the plate in the seventh inning of game two. Unearned runs buried the Raiders in each of the final two innings of the season.
They took called strikes 3. They committed 3 errors in the final game and 4 in the twinbill. After an inning, the Demons were ahead in both.
The Laurens pitchers deserved better. Jackson Edwards went the distance – 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts – in the opener. Parker Clarke made it through 6 innings, allowed 4 hits, gave up 3 runs (2 earned), walked just 2 and also fanned 6. Kalob Hamilton pitched only one inning and didn’t allow a hit, just an error of commission and another, unofficially, of omission.
In the field, balls squirted out of gloves, and plays weren’t made. It went on all night. Hardly anyone was immune.
Will Morris, a USC Upstate signee, blanked Laurens in the first game and, shifting to first base, doubled twice, scored and drove in 2 runs. Earlier, he walked twice and singled in a run in the opener.
Morris alone put up enough numbers by himself to defeat the Raiders in both games, but a brother, a lefty in the eighth grade, pitched into the fifth in game two and, like his sibling, fanned 6 Raiders.
Oddly, all four starting pitchers, representing Laurens and Lugoff-Elgin, each struck out 6.
“We did some uncharacteristic stuff,” Patterson said. “I thought we were ready. We practiced hard all week. We practiced hard all year. We weren’t prepared. I don’t know if the moment was too big. I don’t know. We didn’t play well.
“You’ve got to give [Lugoff-Elgin] credit. There hasn’t been a pitcher who’s shut us down all year. They did it.”