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Lancers open 2012 season Saturday

USCL baseball- by Lancaster news staff

University of South Carolina Lancaster head coach Steve Williams, background, keeps a close eye on the action during a Lancers’ home game last season at the Lancaster High field. USCL begins its fourth season Saturday when it hosts Stanly Community College of Albemarle, N.C. for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

The University of South Carolina at Lancaster will launch its fourth baseball season with a doubleheader against Stanly Community College of Albemarle, N.C., on Saturday.

The Lancers, 18-25 last season, will face the Eagles in the opener at 1 p.m., with the second game set for 3 at the Lancaster High School baseball field.

USCL will be in action Sunday with a twin bill at Stanly, with the first game at 1, and game two at 3.

“We’re ready to get started and it’s an exciting time,” USC Lancaster baseball coach Steve Williams said. “I know our players are anxious to face a team other than their teammates.”

The Lancers opened practice for the season Jan. 10.

“We’ve been at it for close to three weeks and it has gone well,” Williams said. “We’ve been fortunate that it’s been a mild winter so far and we haven’t had to dodge any elements like snow as we did last year.”

The Lancers’ roster features 32 players, including eight returnees for the new season.

“I feel we’re deep athletically,” Williams said. “Our coaching staff has done a good job of bringing in some quality players.

“As far as our pitching goes this season, we will be looking for our pitchers to go deeper in the game,” Williams said. “The key is throwing strikes.

“The key is for our pitchers to stay ahead in the count and be around the plate,” he said. “Of course, it helps to produce runs and give them something to work with.”

Williams said the eight-team National Junior College Athletic Association

Region X will be as tough as ever.

“Four of the teams are in the nation’s top 50,” Williams said. “We play in a tough region, but that’s really nothing new. We know we will need a strong effort each time we take the field. It’s a competitive region with some of the top teams in national junior college baseball.”

The University of South Carolina at Sumter is rated No. 10, while Spartanburg Methodist College, led by Lancaster native Tim Wallace, is No. 19.

The NJCAA Region 10 which is part of the Eastern District also includes Region 15 and 20.

The top four teams in the district preseason poll are USC Sumter, SMC, Pitt Community College and Potomac State of West Va.

Region X includes four S.C. teams including Florence Darlington Tech, Spartanburg Methodist, USC Salkehatchie and USC Sumter. The N.C. teams are Louisburg College, Guilford Tech and Pitt Community College.

Williams, the Lancers coach since its inception, will be assisted by Toby Taylor and Lee Gronkiewicz. Richard Caughman is the team statistician. The training staff includes Jessica Cauthen and Matt Bailey.

Following the weekend series with Stanly, the Lancers will host USC Salkehatchie on Feb. 11 for a twin bill and then travel to Allendale to face the USCS Indians for two games on Feb. 12.

There is no admission to Lancers’ baseball games.

The Lancaster High School baseball field, better known as Doomsday Corner, is located a block south of Lancaster Memorial Stadium and adjacent to North Elementary School.
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