post 79

The 2020 SC American Baseball Summer Legion champion West Columbia Post 79 poses outside the Post building on B Avenue following Monday's awards dinner and ceremony. Thomas Grant Jr. photo

Monday saw West Columbia Post 79 hold a celebration one year in the making.

The 2020 SC American Baseball Summer League champions were honored during a dinner and awards ceremony. With Post Director Legree Oswald as Master of Ceremonies, the team members were presented their state title rings.

Head coach Dargan Lybrand and his coaching staff were also honored and he reflected on last year's squad which went 19-1-1 and defeated the likes of this year's American Legion champion Florence Post 1, this year's runner-up Fort Mill Post 43 and Greer Post 115 during their run.

"That team did a lot of great things," Lybrand said. "A lot of kids stepped up. A lot of kids did remarkable things."

The SC American Baseball Summer League was created after American Legion opted not to hold a season due to the pandemic. The state finals were a four-team tournament in which West Columbia went 3-0 in defeating 2019 American Legion champion Greer twice and Fort Mill.

Along with the traditional state powers, Lybrand commented on having to overcome roster changes due to COVID-19. The pandemic forced Lybrand to utilize players at different positions like Simms Owens at pitcher.

He closed out the 7-1 victory over Greer in the title game. This was after Pelion's Dylan Williamson, who had thrown just once during the playoffs, was called into duty after starter Miles Hedgecock was unavailable due to illness.

Williamson ended up throwing 5 2/3 innings for the victory.

"I'm so proud of that team," Lybrand said. "I'll never forget that as long as I live."

In addition to the rings, players from last year and this year were presented various scholarships awarded from both the SC American Legion and Post 79. The latter were raised from the Post's annual golf tournament which has produced more than $250,000 since its inception in 1997.

White Knoll's Dylan Johnson was presented the Wesley Camp Award named after the late Post 79 player who also attended Pelion High School and Newberry College. Reign Lybrand received the Sportsmanship Award from Post 79.

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