SUMTER, S.C. – Florence Post 1’s Timmy Felder took to the mound with ice in his veins, cooling a hot Sumter lineup with the score tied at 3-3 in the third inning.
Felder and reliever Austin Moore then did more than just cool Post 15.
They froze it.
Felder escaped three bases-loaded jams, and Austin escaped one of his own in the bottom of the seventh to secure Florence’s 4-3 win in Game 1 of the American Legion state tournament Final Four.
Post 1 will next play Greer in this double-elimination bracket at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Columbia’s Segra Park and can clinch a spot in Friday’s state finals with a victory. A victory would also secure a Southeast Regional berth for Florence.
But on Monday, things could have gone in a different direction for Florence, especially in that bottom of the third after Sumter tied the game at 3-3 with one out.
Felder took over after that and struck out Trey Yates and Victor Brown to end the inning. After Felder escaped another bases-loaded jam in the fourth, Florence surged ahead in the fifth with an RBI single by Owen Taylor.
And that rally started after Noah Carter was hit by a pitch and reached second on D.P. Pendergrass’ sacrifice bunt. Carter advanced to third on Will Hardee’s flyout to center and then scored on Taylor’s RBI single.
But Sumter would not give up, loading the bases in the bottom of the fifth with one out. But after Florence left fielder Gage Weatherford made a spectacular diving catch to record the second out, Felder induced a flyout to Taylor at second base to end that threat.
In the top of the second, Florence’s bats struck first. After Moore doubled, Jameson Purvis followed with one of his own that drove in two runs to give Post 1 a 2-0 advantage. Then, after a single by Korique Rainey, McIver Wallace followed with a run-scoring single that accounted for Florence’s 3-0 lead.
After that, Sumter got to Florence pitcher Anthony Hopkins. After scoring earlier in the third on a sacrifice fly on Hopkins, Sumter then faced reliever Robbie Jordan. But Jordan walked two batters in for runs and was replaced by Felder.
And although Sumter got to Felder in the seventh, Moore took over and faced a bases-loaded situation of his own. And all he did was record a strikeout and induce a flyout to Weatherford to end the game.