FLORENCE, S.C. – Another rainout washed away Florence’s scheduled Legion baseball game against Horry on Wednesday in Conway, but luckily the two teams had a backup plan.
In an odd turn of events, Post 1 entered Thursday’s contest against Post 111 as the visiting squad despite playing at Legion Field.
Whether it’s counted as an away game or not, Florence made the most of the change in venues – scoring eight runs across the fourth and fifth innings en route to a 9-3 League II victory.
Post 1, now 10-2 overall and 3-1 in league play, returns to action today at Newberry College against Rowan County in the N.C./S.C. Legion Challenge at 5 p.m. Florence will face Shelby and Randolph County on Saturday at 1:30 and 4 p.m., respectively.
“We’ve been struggling offensively early in the season,” Post 1 coach Derick Urquhart said. “So even as a coach, I did some uncharacteristic things to try and kick-start the offense. But yeah, I thought we swung the bats well up and down the lineup and really started to come through the second time through the order.”
A three-run fourth inning and a five-run third proved to be the difference as Florence collected seven hits and six RBI during those two game-changing frames. Dariyan Pendergrass collected two of his team-high three hits and also drove in four runs – with three coming on a bases-clearing double in the fifth.
“He’s one of the guys we’ve been needing to jump-start a little bit,” Urquhart said. “When he has the opportunity to drive in runs, we need him to come through and he did that tonight, so very pleased with that.”
Gage Weatherford also collected a pair of RBI from the nine hole with an RBI single in the fourth and a bases-load walk in the fifth. Post 1 took advantage of three walks in the fifth and three Horry errors in the game.
The first led to an unearned run for Florence in the top of the first. Post 111 responded with a pair of two-out runs in the bottom half of the inning – thanks to Brandon Cook being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and an infield single from Peter Maggio.
But Florence starter Garrett Gainey found his rhythm soon after and allowed just one more run. He went four innings and gave up five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
“(Gainey) gave us what we needed,” Urquhart said. “He settled down after that first inning and pitched pretty well after that.”
That set the stage for Post 1’s pair of big innings. Noah Carter had a leadoff double in the fourth and Austin Moore, Korique Rainey, Weatherford Pendergrass all collected hits for a 4-2 Florence lead.
It was 4-3 when Post 1 sent nine men to the plate in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Will Hardee had two hits and scored a run while Rainey had a pair of base knocks and scored twice for Florence.
Dawson Chastain had an RBI single in the fourth for Horry. Matthew Bazen took the loss on the mound after giving up four runs, three earned, in four innings.
After Gainey exited, Austin Windham and Connor Kirkley shut the door in relief for Post 1. Windham tossed two perfect innings with three punchouts and Kirkley tossed a perfect seventh with two strikeouts.
“(Windham’s) a guy we know can come in and throw three pitches for strikes,” Urquhart said. “I like him in that role, and Connor came in and got some good work in. He’s got that type of closer stuff.”