Coming off a 2-1 loss to Region VI-4A foe South Florence, Sumter High head softball coach Sherry Sealey was a little concerned her team might not be as motivated facing Lakewood Wednesday at the Sumter High Softball Field.
That concern went away with a 4-run fifth inning that put the game away as the Lady Gamecocks went on to win 11-1 in six innings. Sumter improves to 7-4, while Lakewood falls to 3-3.
"I was worried about us being flat after such a hard, close game (Tuesday) night," said Sealey. "It was very much a positive to see them come out and play like they did tonight."
Lakewood got on the board first when Brittany Osteen reached on an error by Sumter shortstop Sutton Watson, an eighth-grader. Osteen came around to score after being sacrificed to second by Ashley Parmenter, moved to third on a single by Katelynn Inman and scored on Victoria Prescott's groundout to second base.
That was all the Lady Gators could muster on offense as starter Kerrie Wilkie and Watson shut the door for the rest of the game. The two pitchers combined to throw a 3-hitter with five strikeouts and just one walk. Watson pitched the last two innings perfectly and needed just 14 pitches to retire the six batters.
"They did a good job," she said. "It was a good team there."
Sumter struck for two runs in the first on back-to-back RBI singles by Amanda Joos, who was 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored, and Morgan Mixon. The Lady Gamecocks added three more in the second on Joos' RBI triple down the left field line and 2-run, inside-the-park-homerun down the left field line by Watson to make it 5-1.
"Our young pitcher got frustrated with herself," said Lakewood head coach Karen White of Osteen, who is in her first varsity year pitching. "I am still only playing three girls that have to be varsity. I feel like I still have a JV team playing varsity."
That 5-1 score remained until two outs in the bottom of the fifth, at which point Sumter put together a 4-run rally on Lakewood eighth-grader Kelsey Osteen and Rachel Hanrahan to put the game away.
Osteen retired the first two batters of the inning before surrendering a single to Felicia Furman and walking Heather Follin and Courtney Buckner to load the bases. In came Hanrahan, who immediately gave up a 2-run single to Wilkie. Wilkie was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI, plating Furman and Follin. However, Lakewood left fielder Lacy Hill misplayed the ball allowing Wilkie to reach third and Buckner to score. The cutoff throw home to try and get Buckner bounced off catcher Victoria Prescott's glove allowing Wilkie to score and make it 9-1.
"We made more errors tonight and last night than we probably made all season last year," said White. "I don't know what it is exactly. Hopefully, we will be able to find that out in practice tomorrow.
"They are young, but they aren't inexperienced. They have to step up to the plate. We're young but we are still not playing softball the way Lakewood softball is capable of playing."
Sumter added two runs in the sixth on Follin's 2-run triple to end the game with the 10-run mercy rule.
Brittany Osteen, Katelynn Inman and Lauren Martin each had a hit for the Lady Gators.
Five different players knocked in runs for Sumter, which brought a smile to Sealey's face. Also, all but two batters got a hit.
"We hit better than we have in a while," she said. "It was good to see the sticks come back. I call that a good team effort."
Keith Gedamke / The Item Sumter High pitcher Kerrie Wilkie fields a high bounce during the Lady Gamecocks' 11-1 win over Lakewood Wednesday.
Sumter takes 3 of 4 in the Pee Dee Pitchoff - Monday, March 05, 2007
FLORENCE — The Sumter High School softball team took three of four games in the Pee Dee Pitchoff tournament Friday and Saturday in Florence. In the first game on Friday, Sumter defeated Chester 5-1 as Abbye DuRant went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. Kerrie Wilkie picked up the win, pitching seven strikeouts against only one walk. Also Friday, Sumter defeated Florence Christian School 7-0. Winning pitcher Sutton Watson hurled a no-hitter, striking out six, while Amanda Joos went 4-for-4 at the plate and Sarah Grogan drove in two runs. Saturday, the Lady Gamecocks defeated Chesterfield 7-2. Kerrie Wilkie got the win with 11 strikeouts, while Abbye DuRant went 3-for-3 at the plate with 2 RBI and 3 stolen bases. In its only loss of the weekend, Sumter fell to Hartsville 4-2. Sutton Watson suffered the loss for the Lady Gamecocks. Sumter will have a chance to avenge the Hartsville loss, as they host the Lady Red Foxes on Tuesday. Sumter is 1-1 on the season, as the tournament record doesn't count toward the regular-season standings. (full story)
Sumter High School’s varsity girls basketball team jumped out to a 21-0 lead on Hartsville en route to a 61-29 thumping. The Lady Gamecocks wrap up Region VI-4A play with an 8-0 record and improve to 25-1 overall heading into the state playoffs next week.
The best news of the night might have been that the dynamic duo of Frances Fields and Lillian McGill only suffered minor injuries after going down in the third quarter. Fields took a nasty spill driving to the basket and bruised her elbow in the third quarter; McGill was on the bench early in the second half with ice on her ankle.
Sumter head coach Jeff Schaffer said each “were typical basketball injuries.” Sumter will host Richland Northeast Tuesday in the first round of the state playoffs.
Despite not playing for most the second half, McGill still finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Fields, who actually returned after her fall and landed hard once again, added 16 points, five assists and six steals.
Hartsville’s first points came with 45 seconds left in the first quarter as Kirby Cassidy scored on a putback to make the score 21-2. For Schaffer and the Lady Gamecocks, it was improved overall play that they were glad to see return, even if some of the team was under the weather.
The recruitment of a high school athlete can often be a twisting, turning ride. Sumter High offensive tackle Kyle Nunn learned that quite well in his recruiting story, but he saw it come to a happy ending Wednesday.
Nunn, who verbally committed to Virginia Tech last July only to decommit in October and eventually commit to South Carolina, signed his name to a letter of intent for USC on National Signing Day at the SHS coaches office.
"It's good to have this taken care of," said the 6-6, 265-pound Nunn, one of five Sumter High players to sign letters of intent Wednesday. "It feels good to know that I'm going to be going to a good school with a chance to play football close to home. It's good for me, and it's good for my family."
Nunn's saga started back in the middle of July when an internet report said that he had committed to Virginia Tech. Nunn denied that report, but a couple of weeks later he committed to the Hokies. He held to that commitment until the middle of October.
Then on an official visit to USC the last weekend in October, Nunn committed to the Gamecocks.
Nunn also had offers from Georgia, North Carolina and North Carolina State, while Virginia and Clemson showed strong interest, according to Nunn. However, he became one of 31 members of USC's signing class, which has been ranked as high as sixth by one of the recruiting services and seventh by another.
That prospect, along with the players USC already has in place under head coach Steve Spurrier, has Nunn excited about the future at Carolina.
"It's a great thing (the ranking of the signing class), and I hope we live up to expectations in about four years," said Nunn, one of six players from inside the state to sign with USC. "I'm hoping we're going to develop where we're able to win a few (Southeastern Conference) championships. It will be fun."
Nunn graded out at 92 percent for Sumter High this past season, picking up 37 knockdown blocks along the way. Nunn, a 3-year starter at SHS, was chosen to play in the Shrine Bowl as well and was a membr of TheItem All-Area team two consecutive years.
Nunn said he would not mind having the opportunity to play this upcoming season, but he has no idea what's in store for him.
"I'm going to try to go up there and play; I wouldn't mind playing early," said Nunn, who is going to a USC squad that went 8-5 last season. "If I happen to redshirt, I'm fine with that too. That will give me an opportunity to practice and work out to get bigger, stronger and faster."
Nunn is looking forward to playing under the tutelage of Spurrier, one of the top college football coaches in the country.
"He's a good guy," Nunn said of Spurrier. "He's been really nice throughout the recruiting process. He's a great person, along with being one of the great coaches."
Sumter's Pressley signs with Hokies to play wide receiver, special teams
Item file photo Sumter High quarterback Kendrick Pressley checks his receivers while on the run in the Gamecocks' 21-6 victory over West Florence last season. Pressley, Sumter's starting quarterback for three years, signed with Virginia Tech, but plans to play wide receiver and special teams.
Kendrick Pressley spent three years as the starting quarterback for Sumter High School, often showing as much talent — if not more — with his feet than with his arm. That opened the door to speculation as to whether would continue as a quarterback in college or move to another position.
Pressley signed a letter of intent with Virginia Tech on National Signing Day Wednesday in the SHS coaches office. And, while doing so, he brought an end to any speculation as to what position the future held for him.
"When I went up there (to Blacksburg, Va.) on my official visit on Jan. 19, I told the coaches that I wanted to play wide receiver and special teams," said Pressley, one of five Sumter High players to sign letters of intent Wednesday. "Quarterback is out of the question right now."
Pressley, a 6-0, 173-pounder, passed for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 112 of 210 passes for the Gamecocks this past season. He rushed for 829 yards and seven touchdowns on 135 carries, often showing off his quickness and speed on long runs.
Many high school football players throughout the country had known exactly which college they would be signing with on National Signing Day on Wednesday. There are others though who didn't know which school — if any — they would sign with until the last minute.
Sumter High School's Bryan McDaniel and Brian Wilson along with Crestwood's Dan McAlister and Darnell Epps fell into the latter category. Everything turned out alright for the four, however.
McDaniel, a defensive tackle, and Wilson, a defensive back signed with Presbyterian College on Wednesday, while McAlister, an offensive lineman, and Epps, a defensive end, signed with Tusculum. Also, Sumter wide receiver Brian Leneau signed with Newberry College and Manning linebacker Devalle Robinson signed with Georgia Military College.
McDaniel, a 6-1, 299-pounder, had not heard anything from PC, which is making a transition from NCAA Division II to Division I-AA, until the past couple of weeks. However, when Presbyterian hired new head coach Bobby Bentley, his coaching staff made contact with McDaniel.
National Signing Day is the day several high school kids from around the area will realize the dream of playing college football and getting an education while doing what they love.
From NCAA Division I schools -- South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Alabama-Birmingham and transitioning Presbyterian -- to junior colleges, many local standouts will sign on the dotted line Wednesday with the schools of their choice.
Sumter High's Kyle Nunn and Kendrick Pressley are expected to continue their careers in the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, respectively. Nunn, an offensive tackle, is expected to sign his letter of intent Wednesday with USC and Pressley, who played quarterback at Sumter, has been committed to Virginia Tech for sometime and is expected to sign with the Hokies Wednesday.
Also for Sumter, wide receiver Brian Leneau is expected to sign with Newberry College, which made the Division II playoffs for the first time ever this past season. Brian Wilson and Bryan McDaniel have committed to Presbyterian, which begins its transition from the DII South Atlantic Conference to Division I-AA's Big South Conference.
Crestwood High running back Jae Fitzgerald committed to UAB -- a member of DI Conference USA -- last week on his official visit. Crestwood offensive lineman Dan McAllister and defensive lineman Darnell Epps were offered by Tusculum -- a Division II school in Greeneville, Tennessee -- on their official visits over the weekend, but Crestwood head coach Keith Crolley isn't sure what either will do.
Sumter High School managed to score 19 points in the first quarter of its varsity boys basketball game against Richland Northeast Friday. That was almost enough to win. The Gamecocks shut RNE out in the first quarter and went on to rout the Cavaliers 58-26 at the Sumter High Gymnasium. “I don’t think we have done that before,” said SHS head coach Nathan Livesay, whose ninth-ranked Gamecocks moved to 19-3 on the season. “To get a win like this against Northeast, that is an accomplishment. They aren’t as talented as they sometimes are, but (RNE head coach) Jason (Foster) does a good job with them. For us to execute well enough to put ourselves in position to get a lead like that — I was pleased.”
The first-round match in the 4A wrestling dual state playoffs between Sumter High School and Richland Northeast Wednesday at the SHS gymnasium began close to 15 minutes before its scheduled starting time of 7 p.m. By the time the clock struck 7, the Gamecocks pretty much had the match in the bag. Sumter won the first four matches — three of them by pin — to jump out to a 23-0 lead and cruised to a 60-24 victory to advance to the second round for the third straight year.
The Sumter High School varsity girls basketball team took another step toward a region championship Tuesday, improving to 22-1 and 6-0 in Region V-4A with a 75-31 win over Conway at the Sumter High gymnasium.
Conway fell to 4-14 and 0-6 in the region with the loss.
With only two region games remaining and Hartsville and West Florence with two losses each, Sumter is poised to win its second straight region title with a loss by either of those teams or another region win next week. The Lady Gamecocks go out of conference Friday when they host Richland Northeast.
Sumter's starters took full advantage of Conway's inexperience as they were able to get the ball inside to Lillian McGill seemingly at will for easy layups. When McGill didn't hit her first shot, she was dominant on the offensive boards, scoring 12 of her game-high 28 points on second-chance putbacks. McGill poured in 14 points in each half and posted a double-double with 12 rebounds.
Frances Fields had a triple-double, pouring in 19 points, grabbing 10 steals and dishing 10 assists. Raquitta Lundy added 14 points and four assists.
Evan Childs led the Lady Tigers with 17 points.
As good as Sumter appeared to be against the outmanned Lady Tigers, head coach Jeff Schaffer wasn't pleased with the way his team came out to play in the first half.
"In the first half, we weren't really focused to start the game," said Schaffer. "I've been preaching to them for about four weeks now that when the playoffs come rolling around, you've got to be focused from the minute you step on the court regardless of who you're playing, and they haven't taken it to heart yet. When they do, they play pretty doggone good basketball."
The Lady Tigers did little to help themselves, according to Conway head coach Shamae Hemingway. Hemingway expected a tough game against Sumter, but didn't think her team came to play, and the combination spelled disaster for Conway.
"It's different when you don't show up to play," Hemingway said. "They have the potential to be a lot better than what they're doing. Everybody has their ups and downs, but they pick and choose when they decide to come out to play."
Sumter slogged to a 14-8 lead after the first quarter but then exploded for 25 second-quarter points while holding Conway to only five to take a 39-13 lead into halftime. In the second half, Sumter doubled Conway's offensive output in both the third and fourth quarters, continuing to build the lead.
Schaffer thinks his team is improving its focus in games in which it jumps out to big leads.
"You get leads against young teams, and it's hard to keep them interested sometimes when you get that lead," said Schaffer. "What I've been trying to tell them is that you've got to learn to play 32 minutes — not 31, or 30 — but a solid 32. When we get going on those runs like we do, they get into the flow and then they do what they're supposed to do. But then they have a tendency to stand around, and it's an ongoing battle.
"We're getting better at it," Schaffer added. "Out of a 32-minute game most nights now, we're probably getting a good 28 solid minutes. And I don't want to be playing my best basketball just yet — I want to be playing my best about two weeks from now, and I think we're getting there.
The Lady Gamecocks led 61-24 heading into the final stanza on the strength of 10 third-quarter points from McGill. Schaffer was able to get his reserves some significant playing time, and the younger players responded by playing well.
"The younger kids are really stepping up, making their layups, doing what they're supposed to do and running the offense," said Schaffer. "That's a really good sign because that's really where you check whether you're progressing as a team. When the older ones start pulling the younger ones along, not only does it do something for this year, but it gets you ready for the following season as well."
After last Tuesday's embarrassing 80-63 loss at the hands of Region VI-4A foe Hartsville High School, the Sumter varsity boys basketball team has bounced back with a vengeance. The Gamecocks posted a 79-48 win over South Florence Friday and was looking to stay focused and take care of business against a 2-14 Conway team that was winless in the region.
Conway could hardly have been more cooperative, and with Sumter playing nearly to perfection, Tuesday's 76-43 win over the Tigers at the SHS gymnasium could have been much worse.
Sumter, which improved to 18-3 overall and 5-1 in the region, hit the floor running and standout senior guard Derrick Hastie had two easy baskets within a few seconds of the tip-off. Hastie had seven of his 13 points in the first quarter, and along with sharpshooter Sean Whetsel's three consecutive 3-point baskets and a smothering defense that held the Tigers without a field goal for the first 10 minutes of the game, helped stake the Gamecocks to a 27-4 first quarter lead.
That's when Sumter's Dontae Middleton caught fire. Middleton began to take over the game offensively in the second quarter with seven of his game-high 20 points. He was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and was able to get to the basket at will. The Gamecock defense continued to press the Tigers, who finally scored their first field goal with six minutes remaining before halftime. Conway, which dropped to 0-6 in region play didn't break into double digits until the final seconds of the half and went into the break trailing 40-11.
COLUMBIA — Sumter High School's varsity boys basketball team did not get off to a fast start against Richland Northeast at the RNE Gymnasium Tuesday. Thanks to a 14-0 scoring run that straddled the first and second quarters, the Gamecocks did not fret for long.
SHS ran past RNE through the remainder of the first half and held off the scrappy Cavs long enough to close out a 48-40 win.
With its Region VI-4A title defense beginning Tuesday against South Florence, Sumter High School's varsity boys basketball team put the ball in the hands of seniors Dontae Middleton and Derrick Hastie.
The guards responded with 41 combined points to lead the Gamecocks to a 70-45 win over the Bruins. Sumter moves its record to 13-2 overall and 1-0 in the region.
Prior to the start of the 2005-06 season for the Sumter High School boys basketball team, head coach Nathan Livesay felt he had a team that wasn't particularly outstanding in one area nor was it particularly weak in any area.
If there was one area that Livesay thought could make a difference for the Gamecocks, it was on defense.
"Because of the athletes that we have, we feel good about ourselves defensively," Livesay said. "I think it will ultimately boil down to how we play defensively. If we create opportunities to score with our defense, then we'll have a good chance to win."
SHS used its 1-2-1-1 three-quarters court pressure defense to force turnovers that turned into points and those led to wins — lots of them. Sumter finished the season with a 23-5 record and reached the 4A lower state title game for the first time in 16 seasons.
After starting the season with a 3-2 record, the Gamecocks went on to win 20 of their final 23 games and 14 of their final 16. They claimed the Region VI-4A crown along the way with a 9-1 record and were at home for the first three rounds of the playoffs.