Chapin/Newberry wins S.C. American Legion baseball title
By Thomas Grant Jr.
Dan Coats was an assistant for Chapin/Newberry Post 193/24 when it won the S.C. American Legion title in 2015.
The team went on to win the Southeast Regional and, ultimately, the American Legion World Series.
While he acknowledged the 2018 edition is vastly different, the team took another step Friday toward equaling its predecessor. Chapin/Newberry rallied to defeat Sumter Post 15 4-2 to win the state tournament at Spirit Communications Park.
“This is a completely different bunch right here,” Coats said. “That team was real ‘Rah, Rah’. They had a lot of energy. This team is a little bit different. They’re more professional, business-like. They have an edge to them, but this team is a little bit different than that team.”
Chase Hood’s RBI single in the bottom sixth broke a 2-2 tie and Preston Farmer added an insurance run. Chapin/Newberry had trailed 1-0 through three hitless innings before Ward Hacklen’s RBI double and Aaron Copeland’s go-ahead run-scoring single in the fourth.
Jeb Clayton Fulmer had allowed just a run and three hits through 5 ⅓ innings. With Ryan Moore on third and Rylan Williamson on first with one out, he was relieved in the sixth by Copeland.
He quickly struck out the best batter and was a strike away from ending the threat.
Instead, Copeland caught Williamson in a rundown and appeared to make the tag for the third out. The umpire said there was no tag and Moore managed to beat Tanner Folk’s tag at home plate to tie the game.
“We were really upset,” said Hood about the call. “There was no way to really describe how we felt. It was just a sense of (being) upset and we were ready to get back to hit and get the lead.”
After Chapin/Newberry’s 2-run rally, Copeland retired Sumter in order to end the game.
Along with earning a third state championship trophy in six years (it won as Irmo/Chapin in 2013), Chapin/Newberry (20-5) also hauled in two individual trophies. Dutch Fork’s Price Alexander and Deric Hanko were named the MVP and Pitcher of the tournament, respectively.
Both Chapin/Newberry and Sumter will now prepare for the Southeast Regional starting Aug. 8 in Asheboro, N.C. The tournament winner will then earn a berth to the American Legion World Series.
“We’re just going to have to stay poised and be ready to play every day,” Hood said. “We’ve just got to keep the bats rolling.”