Lexington baseball, softball seek dual 5A state championships

Posted 5/22/24

eam has a chance to do something they have not done since 1992.

With wins in last week’s upper state championship series, the Wildcats’ baseball and softball teams punched their …

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Lexington baseball, softball seek dual 5A state championships


Lexington’s baseball and softball teams have a chance to do something they have not done since 1992.

With wins in last week’s upper state championship series, the Wildcats’ baseball and softball teams punched their tickets to the state title series and will have a chance at winning dual championships for the first time in over 30 years.

The baseball team defeated Dorman 5-2 in the upper state championship last week after multiple weather delays pushed the game later into the night. The two teams played close most of the way and were tied at two in the sixth inning when Tradd Burton brought in an RBI on a sacrifice fly to put the Wildcats ahead. Lincoln Hill expanded the lead with a two-run homer and that was enough for Lexington to move on.

The Wildcats remain undefeated in the playoffs through the upper state championship, but they had many close calls. Before the win against Dorman, Lexington won the previous three playoff games by one run.

Lexington and Spartanburg were scoreless through six innings before each team put runs on the board in the seventh. Spartanburg struck first in the top of the inning, but Lexington struck twice to advance.

In the next match, the Wildcats beat region rival Dutch Fork 6-5 after trailing by two runs entering the bottom of the seventh. Brayden Jeffcoat doubled, scoring two runs to tie the game. The leading run came in on the next batter’s turn after a ball slipped past the catcher, allowing Tradd Burton to score.

The game against J.L. Mann is the only game of the three where Lexington was defending a lead in the final inning. The Wildcats jumped to a 4-0 lead through two innings and held J.L. Mann scoreless until the sixth inning.

Lexington gave up three runs in the sixth before eventually retiring the field. The Wildcats then had to hold J.L Mann scoreless in the top of the seventh to win.

Brayden Studebaker earned the save after getting through the inning with no hits allowed and no players on base.

The championship series was supposed to start on May 18 but a pitch count controversy in the Summerville-Ashley Ridge lower state championship series caused a delay. A Summerville pitcher exceeded the maximum number of 75 pitches thrown on consecutive days, which resulted in a complete forfeit of the game.

The SCHSL ruled the forfeit would stand but allowed Summerville to appeal. That appeal took place early this week but the league executive committee shot it down on an 11-0 vote.

Lexington appealed to have the pitch counts from the games frozen, so when play resumes, it’ll be as if the situation never occurred. League commissioner Jerome Singleton called the appeal “selfish” and the request was denied on an 8-3 vote due to the situation being out of control for both teams.

5A postseason baseball action will resume  Thursday at Lexington.

The softball team earned its spot in the championship game after recovering from a game one loss in the upper state series.

The Wildcats defeated Byrnes 10-6 after struggling to spark any offense in a 2-0 game-one loss.

Lexington is facing a similar situation now in the early phases of the championship down 1-0 in the series with its back against the wall. But the team has been there before.

“We’ve had a very challenging season up to this point,” head coach Laurie Epps said. “We started out kind of slow for our standard here at Lexington, and we worked through some things, and we are definitely playing our best softball right now, and that’s what we want to be doing at the end of the year.”

The Wildcats started the season 4-6 but turned things around and made a push for the championship.

“We had some adversity throughout the beginning of the season, and I think that that shaped us into the team that we are,” senior Gracie Scott said. “We realized that we had to be different from everybody else.”

Lexington travels to Summerville on May 23 with a chance at extending the series to a third game. A loss would end the Wildcats’ season.

Lexington baseball, Lexington softball, SCHSL playoffs, Ashley Ridge, Summerville


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