American Legion Baseball

Florence pushes Beaufort to Game 5 in American Legion baseball playoffs

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comJuly 19, 2013 

Kam Dixon represented only part of the pitching riches Florence Post 1 held Thursday.

Normally a middle reliever, Dixon closed out his team's 4-2 victory in 10 innings at Beaufort Post 9/207, throwing a scoreless 3 2-3 innings to complement starter Brandon Baggette.

Florence evened the American Legion playoff series at 2, with the deciding game Friday night in Florence. Post 1 coach Derick Urquhart ticked off names of available arms, five guys who can throw Friday to help his team advance to the state tournament in Columbia.

"And we've still got another one," he said.

That would be Keshaun Samuel, who doesn't pitch often for fear of messing up the defensive chemistry when he's pulled from shortstop. Samuel was the star Thursday, delivering a two-out single in the top of the 10th to score the winning runs.

The hit ended the night of David Tilton, who was vying for the Ospreys' second straight complete game. The right-hander didn't issue a walk until the 10th. He mixed a fastball and curveball, and convinced coach Mike Smith to let him try to hold Florence one more inning.

"He was a true competitor," Smith said. "He wanted to put this game on his shoulders."

But Samuel wouldn't let him escape. After Florence pulled off a double steal, Samuel scored the runners by sitting on a fastball and pulling it down the right-field line.

"I was trying to keep myself patient," Samuel said. "I was looking for a fastball in the zone, and I got one."

The series returns to Florence with each team having won two on the road.

The Ospreys will start Game 1 starter Shane Dixon. Smith said he will have arms ready in relief, while admitting Tilton's outing, which included about 130 pitches, was in hopes of preserving Friday relief options.

"We were trying to keep a little in the tank," Smith said.

Florence scored a run each of the first two innings before Tilton tightened up. The Ospreys, held to four hits, tied the game in the fourth with Thomas Smith's bases-loaded walk.

Tilton faced only nine batters the previous three innings before pitching the 10th.

"I hate to see him go through all that and not get the win," Mike Smith said.

Florence 110 000 000 2 -- 4 8 2

Beaufort 100 100 000 0 -- 2 4 3

W: Kam Dixon 3 2-3 IP, O R, 2 H, 3 K

L: David Tilton 9 2-3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 K, 2 BB

Top hitters: Florence -- Tallin Turner 2 for 4, 3B, RBI; Zach Herndon 2 for 4, RBI, BB. Beaufort -- Matt Thorpe 2 for 4.

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