Sunday, January 29, 2017

Palmetto State Baseball 2017 preview: USC Lancaster

This preview was posted on USC Lancaster's athletics Website,

“We need to focus on being steady at being steady.”

Those words have resonated with any Steve Williams coached Lancaster ball club during his nne-year tenure at the helm of the program.

Williams has high hopes for the year, adding, “We have a chance to be special, but we need to remember the best four letter word in the English language, work.”

After posting a 38-21 mark a year ago, USC-L baseball feels there is more in the tank for the 2017 campaign. Having come up short in the Region X championship last season, first baseman Evan Edwards and fellow returners are anxious to make another post season run.

Edwards, returning region RBI leader and NC State commit, feels strongly about the upcoming season; "The way our season ended last year has led to more motivation both at practice and in the weight room this year.”

USC-L is also returning last year’s Region X leader in stolen bases, Walt Ballentine, who states, “We have the pieces to make a solid run, but everyone needs to do their part and come together as a family.”

Returner Cordes Baker gears up for his second season on the mound for the Lancers. After Baker posted outstanding numbers as a freshman, he went on to pitch for the Upper Valley Nighthawks in the New England Collegiate Summer League, logging 41 innings and striking out 26 opponents.

Although the Lancers are returning a solid staff from 2016, including RHP Brandon Justice and local products Kipp Rollings (RHP) and Trey Sowell (LHP), the program has made big additions in the off-season to improve the staff for 2017.

Notable additions include right-handed transfers David Dunlavey (Wofford College) and Harrison Smith (University of South Carolina). After taking a redshirt during the 2016 season, Thomas DuRant has put himself in a position to be a big time arm from the left side.

Sophomore transfer Jared Williams (University of South Carolina) had a very impressive fall with the bat and is expected to have a breakthrough year for the Lancers.

USC-L is also looking for impact seasons out of redshirt sophomore Tyrie Blalock (INF), and sophomores Tyler Ackard (OF/1B), Evan Flynn (UTL) and Tyler Baker (INF).

Incoming freshmen will have plenty of opportunities to contribute this year as position battles will continue throughout the early part of the season.
The Lancers opened the season with a doubleheader sweep of Catawba Valley CC on Saturday. The teams play another doubleheader today.

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