CAMDEN, S.C. – Florence Post 1 struck early and often Friday, rolling to a 12-1 victory in five innings against Camden. That also gave coach Derick Urquhart’s team a 3-1 series win which elevates the program to its 15th consecutive appearance in the state tournament’s main bracket.
Post 1, which has won four state titles since 2012, has a chance to now make it five. But first, Florence will start the main bracket’s double-elimination tourney Monday at Sumter Post 15. Then, starting Wednesday, the tournament will conclude at Columbia’s Segra Park.
Florence’s Derick Urquhart, coach of each of Post 1’s state championship teams since 2012, simply wants his team to embrace the moment.
“It’s a different team each year, so I tell them not to take it for granted,” Urquhart said. “Twenty or 30 teams aren’t in it. This is the Final Four, now. And until last year, it was the final eight. Regardless of how everything goes this next week, I want them to be proud of what they accomplished.”
Florence can certainly be proud of what it accomplished these past two games, totaling 22 runs.
On Friday, an eight-run second put Camden away. Already leading 1-0, RBI singles by McIver Wallace and Noah Carter during that pivotal second made it 3-0. And after D.P. Pendergrass reached on a bunt to load the bases, two scored on an error to make it 5-0.
After an RBI groundout by Owen Taylor, Austin Moore added a two-run double. And that was followed by a run-scoring single by Jameson Purvis to make it 9-0.
That was more than enough comfort for Post 1 starting pitcher Austin Windham, who allowed two hits and struck out five batters during his five innings of work.
“Austin was incredible,” Urquhart said. “I think that second inning was where we all wanted to keep getting hits and not make an out. It was kind of a snowball effect. And then to give (Windham) a nine-run lead before he takes the mound for the second inning, that was just a great effort by our team.”
Will Hardee hit an RBI triple for the second straight night, and Korique Rainey added a run-scoring hit of his own.
Then, Taylor added a sacrifice fly to account for Florence’s final run.
Camden scored once in the bottom of the fifth, but Post 1 had already made the proverbial hill Friday too steep to climb.
And as a result, Florence can get back to the state American Legion mountaintop for the first time since winning it all in 2017.
“These last two games have really been impressive,” Urquhart said. “We were on our game offensively and defensively. We came energized and ready to play, and it started (Thursday night).”