Gamecocks rout A.C. Flora to earn Forest Acres Classic title
A.C. Flora High had little trouble getting two strikes against Sumter on Friday night.
Two outs came rather easily as well. But the struggles to get the third out cost the Falcons in the Forest Acres Classic final.
Sumter scored 10 runs, all with two outs, during the first three innings in a 13-0 victory at Falcon Field.
The clutch hitting meant the Gamecocks (13-3) headed back to Sumter unbeaten in four tournament games to claim the championship.
“Baseball is about timely hitting and knocking in runs when they are out there,” Sumter coach Brooks Shumake said. “We were able to do that tonight. We felt real fortunate to have those bats do that.”
Even though Sumter scored four in the first, five in the second and one in the third inning, A.C. Flora (9-6) was closer to hanging with the Gamecocks than the score indicated.
The Gamecocks put two on with two out in the first and A.C. Flora starting pitcher Will Freeman had Tyler Smith in a two-strike hole. But Freeman’s next pitch caught too much of the plate and Smith blasted it over the wall in center for a three-run home run.
“When we get two strikes, we normally shorten up (on the bat) and try to just put the ball in play,” Smith said. “He just hung a change-up, and I just poked the bat out there and it went pretty far over the fence.”
Tony Micklon drew a walk and Steven Stafford ripped a double, putting Sumter up 4-0.
Freeman retired the first two Sumter batters in the second inning but didn’t record another out. The next five Gamecocks reached base, four on hits.
Stephen Curtis made it 5-0 with an RBI single before Smith, who pitched Sumter into the final with a complete-game victory against White Knoll on Thursday, stroked a two-strike, two-run double for a 7-0 lead.
“He just hung it with two strikes,” Smith said. “I knew he was going to throw me a curveball because the curveball before (in the at-bat) I looked pretty stupid on. He just hung it, and I roped it down the line.”
When Micklon lined a double to score Smith for an 8-0 Gamecocks lead, A.C. Flora coach Andy Hallett called for the bullpen.
Sumter kept pouring it on against four A.C. Flora relief pitchers before the game was called in the fifth due to the 10-run rule.
The beneficiary of the offensive onslaught was Jordan Montgomery, the Sumter freshman who turned in a sterling performance. Despite not even being listed on Sumter’s roster, Montgomery held the Falcons to two hits and one walk in his first varsity start.
“He just kept the ball down and threw a lot of strikes,” Shumake said. “We were really tickled pink over his performance because this is an A.C. Flora program that is very reputable.”
Reach Wiseman at (803) 771-8472
W: Jordan Montgomery. L: Will Freeman. Leading hitters: Tyler Smith (S) 2-3, HR, 5 RBI; Bruce Caldwell (S) 2-3; Steven Stafford (S) 3-3, RBI. Recs: A 9-6, S 13-