The Laurens Raiders had no particular hero to stand alone in Monday night’s Class 4A playoff victory over visiting Lugoff-Elgin.
It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it was richly a team victory, 12-4.
Laurens (18-8) committed 4 errors, but the players who each made 2 of them, shortstop Thomas Willis and left fielder Jackson Martin, each had 2 hits and 1 of Martin’s was a 2-run homer.
Right fielder Sulli Pinson drove in 4 runs with a sixth-inning, 2-run homer after 2 on a single in the fourth.
Winning pitcher Zach Faulkner’s third-inning sacrifice fly was caught at the wall. On the mound, Faulkner has had better nights – 5 innings, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, a homer by L-E’s Will Morris in the first inning and a balk – but battled and put Lugoff-Elgin’s 2-run first inning behind him quickly. His successors on the hill, Martin and Parker Clarke, each tossed an inning, giving up only an unearned run between them.
Head coach Tori Patterson knew the team was going to hit when it took batting practice at 4 p.m.
“Every batter was smoking the baseball,” he said. “I knew we’d score some runs. I told our other coaches, ‘We’re gonna hit the ball today.’ We did.”
Only Lander Dykes and Reed Goff had 2 hits for the Demons, who, like the Raiders, totaled 8.
Laurens spotted the Demons a 2-run lead in the first inning.
“We always come out slow,” Patterson said. “They punched us in the mouth early. I think that was the second homer hit against my team all year.
“We don’t panic over here. We don’t want to wait to get going, but we came alive in the third.”
All the runs and more than Laurens needed crossed the plate in the 7-run third inning, built on 4 hits and 5 walks.
Seven different pitchers took turns trying to hold down unsuccessfully the Raider juggernaut. All but one gave up a hit. Lugoff-Elgin (14-13) pitchers combined for 8 walks. The first hurler, Goff, took the loss, giving up 5 runs, though only 2 were earned.
The next visitor to Ed Prescott Field ... is Lugoff-Elgin again on Friday at 6 p.m. Laurens must win one game -- out of a possible two -- to advance to the Upstate playoff bracket.
“I told our players people still consider us the underdogs, but we’ve got a shot to win the whole thing.”