Chapin/Newberry takes early lead in American Legion standings

Preston Farmer

By Thomas Grant Jr.

Mother Nature has become Chapin/Newberry Post 193/24’s biggest adversary this season.

An early-season 2-game set with League IV rival Lexington Post 7 was rescheduled as well as a West Columbia game.
With several newcomers, head coach David Coats said this has not hurt team chemistry.

“It’s been slow, but it’s coming along,” he said. “Our guys are starting to get comfortable around each other and they’re starting to jell.

“We’re hitting the ball a little bit better. I think they’re getting used to each other.”

After an 11-1 loss to Aiken, Chapin/Newberry has won four straight games by a total score of 34-1 to take first place in the region. On Tuesday, it shut out Greenwood 3-0 as Dutch Fork pitcher Deric Hanko struck out four in seven scoreless innings.

Chapin/Newberry returns the core of its potent offensive lineup which took it to the American Legion state tournament for the third straight year last season.

Dutch Fork’s Ward Hacklen and Price Alexander and Chapin’s Will Kroske and Robert King are back along with Jeb Fulmer, Preston Farmer and John-Steven Trammell, all from Mid-Carolina.

Among the newcomers providing a boost offensively are Clinton’s Aaron Copeland and Dutch Fork’s Hanko and, on the pitching mound, Jackie Stroud, Jonathan Bickley and Hunter Graham from Mid-Carolina.

Chapin/Newberry also has a dual roster pitcher in Zack Frick who plays for both the junior and senior teams.

“We’ve got guys that can play positions,” Coats said, “but can also help us on the mound, too,”
Only two of the four teams will advance to the American Legion Upper State playoffs out of League IV.

Right now, Coats is more focused on getting through the remaining 14 scheduled games, which includes the Palmetto Invitational next weekend.

1. Rock Hill, 2. Inman, 3. Goose Creek, 4. Florence, 5. Lexington, 6. Fort Mill, 7. Chapin/Newberry, 8. Sumter, 9. Camden, 10. Greenville