Jonathan Dyer / The Island Packet Hilton Head High catcher Patrick Hahn tags out Sumter’s Kevin Cox in the fourth inning of the Gamecocks’ 3-2 win Thursday in the championship game of the Seahawk Baseball Invitational.
By RYAN O'CONNOR Special To The Item
HILTON HEAD — Throughout the Seahawk Baseball Invitational, Sumter High School has found a way to win its games late.
Thursday's championship game was no different.
The Gamecocks, the No.7 team in 4A, scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally past host Hilton Head High School 3-2 to win the Seahawk Baseball Invitational.
"We're a blue collar team," said Sumter head coach Brooks Shumake, whose team improved to 18-0. "We go out and work hard. We go out and play for seven innings. We always know we can win the game."
Travis Witherspoon had the game-winning hit, a double in left-centerfield that went off the glove of centerfielder Ryan Kelly to score Allen Caldwell from second base.
"I was looking for a fastball down the middle, something that I could drive," Witherspoon said. "It was big. I have never done it before."
Trailing 2-1 entering the seventh, leadoff hitter Tyler Cappelmann reached on a walk. The Seahawks pulled pitcher Patrick Lawson in favor of Jeff Ussery, a senior who normally plays third. He walked Caldwell to give Sumter runners on first and second. The next hitter, Tyler Scott, lined a single to left to score Cappelmann from second. Three batters later, Witherspoon delivered the big hit.
With spring break being held for most local schools this week, the members of the Sumter High School and Wilson Hall baseball teams will find themselves in oceanside locations. While they'll be enjoying the waves, sand and sun, they will also be getting their fair share of baseball in as well beginning Monday.
Sumter will be playing in the Seahawk Baseball Invitational in Hilton Head, while the Barons will be playing in the Hawaiian Tropic Tournament at Waccamaw High School in Pawley's Island.
The baseball teams from Lakewood and Manning will also be busy this week, playing in the James Ervin Toyota Tournament in Camden beginning on Monday. The SHS softball team will be playing in the 44-team Azalea Invitational Tournament in Summerville beginning Monday.
HIGH SCHOOL TOURNAMENTS
Baseball Seahawk Baseball Invitational at Hilton Head Hilton Head High School Field Monday 10 a.m. — Lewisville vs. Olentangy Liberty (Ohio) 1 p.m. — York vs. Sumter 4 p.m. — Chester vs. LaSalle (Ohio) 7 p.m. — Hilton Head Christian vs. Hilton Head
Seahawk Baseball Invitational Tuesday 10 a.m. — LaSalle (Ohio) vs. Hilton Head Christian 1 p.m. — Olentangy Liberty (Ohio) vs. Sumter 4 p.m. — Lewisville vs. York 7 p.m. — Chester vs. Hilton Head
Wednesday 10 a.m. — Sumter vs. Lewisville 1 p.m. — Chester vs. Hilton Head Christian 4 p.m. — Olentangy Liberty (Ohio) vs. York 7 p.m. — LaSalle (Ohio) vs. Hilton Head
Thursday 6:30 p.m. — Championship Game
James Ervin Toyota Tournament at Camden American Legion Park Monday 1 p.m. — Manning vs. Spring Valley 4 p.m. — Lugoff-Elgin vs. Lakewood 7 p.m. — Camden vs. Cheraw
Tuesday 1 p.m. — Lakewood vs. Cheraw 4 p.m. — Lugoff-Elgin vs. Manning 7 p.m. — Camden vs. Spring Valley
Wednesday 1 p.m. — Cheraw vs. Manning 4 p.m. — Lugoff-Elgin vs. Spring Valley 7 p.m. — Camden vs. Lakewood
Thursday 1 p.m. — Lakewood vs. Manning 4 p.m. — Spring Valley vs. Cheraw 7 p.m. — Camden vs. Lugoff-Elgin
Hawaiian Tropic Tournament at Pawley’s Island Waccamaw High School Field Monday 7:30 p.m. — Wilson Hall vs. Williamsport, Pa.
Tuesday 7:30 p.m. — Wilson Hall vs. Carolina Academy
Wednesday 7:30 p.m. — Wilson Hall vs. Archbishop Molloy, N.Y.
Thursday To be determined
Softball Azalea Invitational Tournament at Summerville Gahagan Park Monday 1 p.m. — Sumter vs Pendleton 5:30 p.m. — Sumter vs. Fort Dorchester
Tuesday 9:30 a.m. — Sumter vs. Johnson County, Tenn. 3:30 p.m. — Sumter vs. Brookland-Cayce
Gamecock head coach Brooks Shumake and Wilson Hall head coach Tommy Jones said playing in such tournaments benefit their teams in many ways.
"No.1, it's a chance for them to go off and experience being together. There will be a lot of team bonding," said Shumake, whose team is undefeated with a 14-0 record. "That is one of the thing that is very beneficial.
"Of course, just getting to play is a good thing as well," he said. "Some players who do not get as much time as they would like to, we get to see how they perform against some good competition."
Jones has had his entire team together for just a few weeks, so such a tournament allows him and his coaching staff to get a better feel for their team.
"When you're going to play four games against teams as good or better than you, what you can and can't do becomes glaringly apparent," said Jones, whose team is 4-2. "This allows players the chance to prove themselves in tough situations, and it helps in our decision making down the line. We'll know what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong after we finish here."
Sumter's tournament is an 8-team tournament that will be played at the Hilton Head High School field. The Gamecocks open with York on Monday, face Olentangy Liberty of Ohio on Tuesday and Lewisville on Wednesday. The championship game is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Wilson Hall will be playing in the Hawaiian Tropic tournament for the eighth straight season. The Barons will face Williamsport, Pa., on Monday, Carolina Academy on Tuesday and Archbishop Molloy of New York on Wednesday. Depending on how it finishes after the first three games, Wilson Hall could play on Thursday.
The James Ervin Toyota Tournament will be played at Camden's American Legion Park. Lakewood, 6-2, and 2-5 Manning will play four games in the tournament. On Monday through Wednesday, Lakewood will take on Lugoff-Elgin, Cheraw and Camden, while Manning will meet Spring Valley, Lugoff-Elgin and Cheraw. Lakewood and Manning will meet Thursday at 1 p.m.
A 4-day pass for the tournament is $10 or a daily ticket is $3.
The Azalea Invitational will be played at Gahagan Park. Sumter will play Pendleton and Fort Dorchester on Monday, and Johnson County, Tenn., and Brookland-Cayce on Tuesday. Should the 5-7 Lady Gamecocks qualify, it would play in a 24-team single-elimination tournament on Wednesday. The championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (full story)
CONWAY | Will Richardson says that his development as a Division I-AA quarterback can be measured in the little things.
He'll always have the 6-foot-5 frame and the football pedigree, but this year he says he has that confidence, that chutzpah, that get-on-my-back persona that is so important in a signal caller.
Late in Wednesday's scrimmage at Brooks Stadium - the last spring workout before Coastal Carolina's week-long spring break - the lanky backup quarterback and his second-team offense gathered in a huddle on the goal line facing fourth and less than a yard. On the three previous plays, three running backs had been denied access to the end zone. And with one shot left, Richardson spoke up.
"This is it right here," he said, moments before Aundres Perkins took the handoff and plowed into the end zone. "This is do or die. Let's get it."
It won't make its way into a Hollywood screenplay anytime soon, but Richardson says that his pep talk is evidence of his maturation on the field. Last year, he arrived at Coastal hoping to log serious playing time, but by the end of the season he was hoping not to get on the field so he could take a redshirt.
He spent most of the season as the Chanticleers' third-string quarterback, moving up to second-string only after starter Tyler Thigpen broke his collar bone in the ninth game of the year.
Richardson ended up getting his redshirt, but for a kid that had thrown for 2,710 yards and 29 touchdowns his senior season at Sumter High School, the time on the sideline was difficult.
"At the beginning it was tough for me to deal with because I had been used to playing all the time," Richardson said. "At first it kind of frustrated me. But after awhile, I got to a point where it was all about the team. I realized that I was kind of being selfish. As long as we were winning I was happy."
Any recruit with at least a hint of name-recognition tends to get people talking, and with Richardson's family background - brother Wally starred for Penn State and played a couple of seasons with the Baltimore Ravens; father Wallace played for South Carolina State and the Denver Broncos - the buzz that surrounded his decision to stay close to home and play for Coastal Carolina was overwhelming.
Physically, he is somewhat of an anomaly, a baby-faced freshman with a beanpole body and football-cleated feet that look a little more like hooves. He has long arms, but not the long, looping throwing motion of other tall-and-slender quarterbacks.
KELLEYTOWN — They Sumter High School varsity baseball team really doesn't mind the position it is in — and it shouldn't. The Gamecocks knocked off Hartsville 7-3 Friday to keep a perfect season intact at 14-0.
"We are happy; any win is a good win," Sumter head coach Brooks Shumake said. "Hartsville has been a thorn in our side since I have been at Sumter. We are pleased."
It was not all fun and games for Sumter, however. After two scoreless innings, Sumter jumped on the Red Foxes with two runs in the top of the third.
After Chris Nance singled to right and pinch runner Kevin Cox stole second base, Tyler Cappelman hit a blooper over Hartsville third baseman Chase Gilbert to plate Cox. Cappelman was too greedy and got caught trying to turn the single into a double for the second out of the inning. Allen Caldwell, the next batter, belted a 1-2 pitch over the rightfield fence to put the Gamecocks up by two.
Sumter's Tyler Scott only allowed two baserunners through the first three innings and Sumter looked as if it was going to easily roll to the win. In the fourth, Travis Witherspoon hit a 2-out triple to deep center. He then stole home off pitcher Andrew Turner to make it 3-0.
Hartsville wasn't about to let Sumter get away that easy though.
Daniel McKenzie got the first hit for the Red Foxes in the bottom of the fourth with a single. He advanced to third on Drew McElveen's double and both scored when Robert Skinner hit a blooper into shallow left-center to make it 3-2 and breathe new life into Hartsville.
"We decided to stay with him (Scott) there," Shumake said. "They got a little check-swing hit there to score two, but he is still OK we're thinking."
Turner recorded his first — and only — perfect inning in the fifth to keep his team alive. Hartsville took full advantage in the bottom of the inning. Gilbert led off with a single and scored on a single by Press McArthur to tie the game at 3-3.
"For the most part, we have been falling behind early and had to fight and claw to get back into games," Hartsville head coach Corey Lewis said. "Tonight we were able to not fall in such a deep hole and fight back and tie it, but we didn't execute down the stretch."
The Sumter bats reemerged in the top of the fifth. Caldwell got it started by drawing a walk from Turner, which prompted Lewis to replace Turner with Jonathan Gainey. Things then went sour for the Red Foxes.
The pitchers for Sumter High School's and West Florence's varsity baseball team both went the distance on the mound. The hits were few as both each defense stood its ground.
The Region VI-4A matchup between the Gamecocks and the Knights Wednesday night at the SHS baseball field had every indication of a postseason duel, a duel that the Sumter would ultimately win 2-1 and stay undefeated at 13-0 overall and 5-0 in the region.
For as tight as the game was, Gamecocks head coach Brooks Shumake said that he and West Florence head coach Bob Kleinknecht, whose team drops to 4-1 in region play 9-3 overall, did not want to play up the game — being nearly a month away from the postseason. Even so, Shumake found that a little bit hard to do as the game went on.
"It was definitely a big-time atmosphere tonight," Shumake said. "As much as we wanted to downplay the game a little bit, me and Coach Kleink, in terms of it being the first time around for us, at the same time it was an intense ballgame."
Starting pitchers Allen Caldwell, for Sumter, and curveballer Zack Ward, for Florence, had a lot to do with making the game tight. Both pitched complete games as both teams accounted for just nine hits.
The left-handed Caldwell, who improves to 4-0 on the season, gave up a run in the first inning but held the Knights scoreless for the next six. He struck out nine and walked three.
"He's got a good-tailing fastball and he's got a really good breaking ball," Shumake said, "so when we throw him out there, we feel like we're going to match up with whoever they've got out there."
Ward frustrated the Gamecocks' batters for most of the night. Sumter, which had outscored its four previous region opponents 32-4, struggled to connect with Ward's pitches. Most connections died as infield groundouts, foulouts or routine pop-ups.
"He was throwing a lot of curveballs and a lot of breaking balls," Shumake said. "I felt like as hitters, we didn't adjust to that curveball and understand it. He was going to throw it. We've got to do a better job of figuring out what he was doing, getting in a rhythm with him, feeling what he's doing and thinking a little bit better."
Ward gave up both Sumter runs in the fourth inning, but one-hit the Gamecocks in the first through third innings and in the fifth and sixth.
"Zack pitched good enough to win," Kleinknecht said.
Ward wasn't good, however, in the fourth, when SHS batters did get in synch with what he was throwing.
With two outs in the inning, No.6 batter and designated hitter Michael Richardson lined a 2-2 pitch into leftfield for a single. With pinch-runner Travis Witherspoon taking Richardson's place at first base, Bren Maloney smacked the first pitch to him into left for an RBI double to tie the game at one.
The Sumter High School varsity golf team finally won its first dual meet of the season Wednesday at the Sunset Country Club course. The Gamecocks defeated West Florence by five strokes, shooting 153 to the Knights' 158 in the 9-hole match.
All of that is relative, however. It was just Sumter's second dual match of the season, the other being a loss to defending 3A state champion A.C. Flora.
SHS does have two other victories in the form of tournaments, winning the 24-team Capital City Classic in Columbia and the 9-team Shark Shootout last weekend in Myrtle Beach. That has Gamecock head coach Jeff Schaffer excited about his team.
"I think we've snuck up on some people," said Schaffer, who doesn't have a senior on the team. "We've proven that we can break 300 in a tournament, and we've got to be able to do that."
The Gamecocks shot 298 in the final round of the Shark Shootout to pull away for an easy win after shooting 317 in the first round.
Allen Caldwell knew his Sumter High School varsity baseball team would improve over last year, but he didn't think the Gamecocks would be 12-0 overall and 4-0 in Region VI-4A play thus far into the season.
"I really didn't expect it that much," said Caldwell, a second-year starter. "I knew we were going to be pretty good because our pitching staff had come back (from last year's 19-11 effort), but I didn't know our hitting was going to be as great. Everybody just keeps showing up to play, everyday."
Indeed, the Gamecocks have found nothing but success in every aspect of their game. They bat a collective .309, or 102-for-330, while team pitching has combined for a collective 1.01 earned-run average.
Sumter has outscored its four region opponents 32-4, a testament to what Caldwell said is a team focused firmly on what it needs to do in every game.
"The team chemistry has been pretty high lately," he said. "Everybody's just playing like a team instead of (relying on) standout players playing their game."
Caldwell, among others on the mound and at the plate, has stood out. As a starting pitcher he's 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a team-leading 34 strikeouts. As a hitter, he's withstood an early slump in which he had to work out the kinks in his swing — and still has managed to bat .382, with 13 hits in 34 at-bats.
"Actually, last year by this point I was doing better," said Caldwell, a left-handed batter who can hit the ball to all fields. "I had a couple of flaws in my swing, but since then I've been hitting pretty good. l just try to hit the ball where it's pitched. If it's outside I'll take it outside, if it's inside I'll try and pull it."
SHS head coach Brooks Shumake said all Caldwell needed was time to work out the kinks. (full story)
Sumter High School's varsity boys soccer team made it hard on itself Friday at the SHS soccer field.
With a strong wind pinning down the team defending the south end of the field, Sumter failed to score with the wind at its back but scored two late goals to come away with a 2-1 win over Conway in its Region VI-4A opener.
Sumter missed several opportunities to grab a quick lead with the wind at its back. However, it was Conway who had the first scoring opportunity.
On a very windy evening at the Sumter High School baseball field Friday night, right-hander Tyler Scott was steady enough on the mound and Allen Caldwell was solid enough at the plate to give the Gamecock baseball team an 8-0 win over Region VI-4A rival Conway.
Scott pitched a 3-hitter and held the Tigers hitless from the third through the sixth innings, while Caldwell went 3-for-3 with three doubles, three runs batted in and two runs scored to provide the offense for the Gamecocks, who improved to 9-0 overall and 2-0 in the region.
SHS head coach Brooks Shumake, whose team has outscored its two region opponents 16-0 in 14 innings, said he likes the way the Gamecocks have come together.
"The focus of the team right now is very good," Shumake said. "The guys are willing and able to give their heart for seven innings right now, so the morale and the focus of the team now is in good shape."
Like it did in its 8-0 win over Hartsville Tuesday, Sumter got off to an early lead on Conway, jumping out to a 3-0 lead on the Tigers in the first inning.
After No.2 batter Tyler Cappelmann drew a 1-out walk, the left-handed Caldwell inside-outed a double into leftfield to put runners at second and third. Both Cappelmann and Caldwell came home on Grayson Tanner's line-drive double down the rightfield line to make it 2-0. Tanner came home on Michael Richardson's bloop single into left to make it 3-0.
Keith Gedamke / The Item Sumter High School left-hander Allen Caldwell delivers a pitch in the first inning of the Gamecocks’ Region VI-4A opener against Hartsville Tuesday night at the Sumter High School baseball field.
The Sumter High School baseball team’s perfect start now stretches into its Region VI-4A season.
After a 4-run outburst in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night, the Gamecocks used the pitching of left-hander Allen Caldwell to shut down the bats of conference rival Hartsville and cruise to an 8-0 victory at the Sumter High School baseball field.
“We’re excited as we can be to get that first win,” said Gamecocks head coach Brooks Shumake — who was a star player at Hartsville in the 1980s before moving on to play third base at Clemson — whose team improves to 8-0 on the year.
“All of those games prior to this one are good wins and all,” Shumake added, “but these region games are so crucial.”
Jared Thompson grounded out and Bren Maloney flied out to start the bottom half of the first, but Caldwell singled to rightfield and Tyler Scott reached on Hartsville second baseman Daniel Watkins’ fielding error that put runners at first and third.
The Sumter High School baseball team opens up Region VI-4A play today when it play host to Hartsville at 6:30 p.m. at the SHS field. Sumter has opened the season 7-0 and hopes to continue that run against the Foxes.
"We are really pleased right now," Sumter head coach Brooks Shumake said. "We started off really well. Our team is very resilient. When they get into a ballgame they know the game lasts 21 outs. No matter what the situation, we feel we will come out on top."
Shumake said the team has had four games in which it has fought back to win.
Shumake, who was a star player at Hartsville in the 1980s before going on to play third base for Clemson, said he doesn't mind opening region play against his alma mater. In his eighth year as head coach at SHS, Shumake will be seeing Hartsville for the 15th time.
"It's fine," Shumake said of opening with Hartsville. "We have played them in non-region games since I have been here. We are used to playing them. They have a good program and we are looking foward to them coming over here."
When the Sumter High School girls basketball team steps on the floor at the SHS gymnasium, it will be a new experience for the team. Everyone on the team will be playing in their first 4A state playoff game.
Not only is Sumter young, but it has been a few years since the program has made the state playoffs. So Lady Gamecocks head coach Jeff Schaffer isn’t quite sure what to expect when his team meets Colleton County beginning at 7 p.m.
“As a coach you’re always concerned about a first-round playoff game,” said Schaffer, who coached Lakewood’s girls team to a pair of region titles before coming to SHS. “It’s a different situation, but there are none for us who have any playoff experience. Our girls have been pretty good handling pressure this season.”
The Lady Gamecocks are 15-7 on the season and won the Region VI title with a 9-1 record. Since they have lost only once since the Christmas break, Schaffer doesn’t see any need for the team to do anything different when it takes on the Lady Cougars.
“I don’t think we’ll do anything different than we’ve been doing,” Schaffer said. “We’re just going to try and keep on doing what we’ve been doing well. If we’re patient with what we’re trying to do on offense and don’t get beat in transition, I think we’ll be OK.”
Colleton County is 7-15 on the season and finished fourth in Region VII. While he didn’t know names, Schaeffer said he did know the Lady Cougars had a 6-2 player who was solid on the inside and a guard who shoots 3-pointers well.
“They are not a fun team to play in a a first-round game,” he said.
Center Adrian McGill leads Sumter with a 12.3 scoring average, shooing around 50 percent from the floor, and is averaging 13.8 rebounds per game. Adrian White is averaging around 10.8 points a contest.
Sumter comes into the playoffs after pulling out a 51-48 overtime win over Conway on Friday. While Conway was just 6-13 on the year, Schaffer thinks the close game may have actually been good for his team as it enters the playoffs.
“We’ve been in some close games; we’ve won a few and we’ve lost a few,” he said. “I think the game the other night will benefit us down the road. When we got into overtime, we took care of business. Having played tough teams like Crestwood, Dutch Fork and Richland Northeast earlier should give us some confidence since we have some firsthand experience in close games.”
Greg Walker got to play all of one play on the offensive line during his just-completed rookie season in the National Football League with the New York Giants. For a once-released, undrafted free agent though, that was OK.
"I think things went pretty well," said Walker, a former Sumter High School and Clemson University standout, last week from his home in New Jersey. "I was second team all year (listed as a backup at both guard spots on the depth chart). I stayed healthy, and I did play a lot on special teams."
Walker was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer at offensive tackle during his senior season at Clemson, the 2003 campaign. Those honors, or his 6-5, 341-pound frame, were enough to get his named called in the NFL draft in April of '04.
Walker was signed by the Detroit Lions a few days after the draft. About a week later, he was unceremoniously released by the Lions. He was signed by the Giants the first of June, and took full advantage of his new opportunity.
Walker made the Giants' 53-man roster coming out of training camp. While he was on the 8-man inactive roster for the first several games, Walker was learning — how to be a better offensive lineman and how to be a professional.
"I stayed with the offensive lineman, trying to learn as much as I could," Walker said. "I became more of a student of the game. I learned new things about hand technique, foot technique. The older guys who had been here really helped me. I was able to see their methods, the way they prepared for things."
While his playing time on the offensive unit was limited, Walker became a member of two of the special team units — field goal protection and kickoff returns. A run of injuries afforded Walker the opportunity to play on the special teams, something he had never done before. Now he wants to continue being a part of the units.
"I like the aspect of coming together, forming a wedge and trying to blow guys up to set up a return," Walker said. "I just love the whole aspect of it. They couldn't get me off (special teams) now if they wanted to."
Walker was a rookie who was simply happy to just have a job. One of his rookie teammates had the spotlight shining on him all season — quarterback Eli Manning.
The No.1 overall pick in the draft by the San Diego Chargers, the Giants acquired Manning in a draft-day trade. Kurt Warner started the season as New York's starting quarterback, but he was replaced by Manning in the middle of the season. Manning had mixed results, completing just 95 of 197 passes for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns against nine interceptions.
Considering the intense scrutiny placed on Manning, the brother of Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning and the son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, Walker thought he had a good rookie season.
"He handled it all very well," said Walker, whose team finished the year with a 6-10 record. "He's a cool, calm guy, and he didn't let the pressure get to him. He has a short-term memory. If he did something wrong, he was able to go back out there like he never made a mistake. You've got to be able to do that."
There is no doubt that Manning will be with the Giants next year; Walker can't say the same. He hopes he showed enough potential and promise as a rookie to earn a spot on the 2005 roster, but he is taking nothing for granted.
"You can never be sure that you've established yourself," he said. "In this line of work, to continue to be successful, you've got to work harder than you did the year before.
"Now I know what to expect. I probably didn't train as hard as I could have. Now I'm going to train harder. From the mental aspect, learning the game, I'm going to prepare even more."
HARTSVILLE — The Sumter High School varsity girls basketball team succeeded in clinching the Region VI-4A championship Tuesday on the road at Hartsville. The Lady Gamecocks, however, failed to make winning their first region title since the 1991-92 season into a dramatic affair.
Powered — as it has been all season — by Lillian McGill in the paint and under the nets, SHS ran out to a 33-9 halftime lead en route to a 60-34 victory at the Hartsville gymnasium.
SHS head coach Jeff Schaffer, in his third year as head coach of the Lady Gamecocks, said part of his team's mission is accomplished, but there is more to achieve.
"When we set out at the beginning of the season, that was one of our goals. We wanted the region championship and play for a state championship," said Schaffer, who won back-to-back region titles as head coach of the Lakewood girls team before taking over the Lady Gamecocks. "So far, we're right on track. We're extremely excited for the kids. They've worked hard for three years, they put in a lot of hours in the gym, they've gone to summer camp and now they're starting to see the benefits of working hard."
The Lady Gamecocks, who improved to 14-7 overall and 8-1 in the region, got off to an 11-3 lead after the first quarter to set up their 21-6 run in the second period.
McGill led her team in that frame, scoring 10 of her game-high 23 points. She also finished with 15 rebounds to round out a double-double performance.
"That's another typical night's work for her," Schaffer said proudly.
SHS stopping Hartsville's Traci Fountain also led to a quick victory, he added. Fountain, who scored 18 points against the Lady Gamecocks in their last meeting, was held to four points in the first half and four in the second.
"Our defensive pressure was really good," Schaffer said. "That Fountain was really a great player and we wanted to key on her. We really wanted to set our sights on making somebody else work a little bit and we really did a good job."
As it turned out, no one from the Lady Red Foxes, who dropped to 2-7 in the region and 3-17 overall, could handle the Lady Gamecocks' pressure until the fourth quarter, when SHS made ample substitutions.
Shakaria Hamlin led Hartsville with 15 points — 13 of which came in the second half.
Alicia Sims and Robin Covington scored 10 points apiece for the Lady Gamecocks.
With the region title, SHS is guaranteed a home game in the first round of the 4A playoffs, which kick off Tuesday. Sumter will face the fourth-place team from Region VIII.
Before then, however, Sumter plays host to Conway Friday in its final regular-season game.