FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE USC LANCASTER SPORTS INFORMATION Thursday, January 19, 2017
2017 LANCERS BASEBALL PREVIEW
“We need to focus on being steady at being steady.” Those words have resonated with any Steve Williams coached Lancaster ball club during his 9 year tenure at the helm of the program. Williams has high hopes for the year, adding, “We have a chance to be special, but we need to remember the best four letter word in the English language, work.” After posting a 38-21 mark a year ago, USC-L baseball feels there is more in the tank for the 2017 campaign. Having come up short in the Region X championship last season, first baseman Evan Edwards and fellow returners are anxious to make another post season run. Edwards, returning region RBI leader and NC State commit, feels strongly about the upcoming season; "The way our season ended last year has led to more motivation both at practice and in the weight room this year.” USC-L is also returning last year’s Region X leader in stolen bases Walt Ballentine, who states, “We have the pieces to make a solid run, but everyone needs to do their part and come together as a family.” Returner Cordes Baker gears up for his second season on the mound for the Lancers. After Baker posted outstanding numbers as a freshman, he went on to pitch for the Upper Valley Nighthawks in the New England Collegiate Summer League, logging 41 innings and striking out 26 opponents. Although the Lancers are returning a solid staff from 2016, including RHP Brandon Justice and local products Kipp Rollings (RHP) and Trey Sowell (LHP), the program has made big additions in the off-season to improve the staff for 2017. Notable additions include right-handed transfers David Dunlavey (Wofford College) and Harrison Smith (University of South Carolina). After taking a redshirt during the 2016 season, Thomas DuRant has put himself in a position to be a big time arm from the left side. Sophomore transfer Jared Williams (University of South Carolina) had a very impressive fall with the bat and is expected to have a breakthrough year for the Lancers. USC-L is also looking for impact seasons out of redshirt sophomore Samuel Blalock (INF), and sophomores Tyler Ackard (OF/1B), Evan Flynn (UTL) and Tyler Baker (INF). Incoming freshmen will have plenty of opportunities to contribute this year as position battles will continue throughout the early part of the season.
USC-L opens up the year on January 28 in Hickory, North Carolina with a four-game set against Catawba Valley Community College. USC-L will then host back to back series as Southeastern Community College (February 4-5) and Brunswick Community College (February 11-12) make trips to Doomsday Corner. The Lancers will have multiple midweek contests throughout the year including home games on February 15 and February 22 against Limestone College JV and Belmont Abbey JV. USC-L will take a trip down to Florence, SC on February 18-19 to play in the prestigious Pepsi Invitational. The last three non-conference opponents include Patrick Henry Community College (February 25-26), Wake Technical College (March 4-5), and Monroe College (March 18). USC-L will make a first time trip to Emerson, Georgia where the Lancers will face Georgia Highlands College on March 10-12. Familiar opponents Pitt Community College and Guilford Technical College moved to NJCAA Division II, there will be no metting with either school this season. The last series in March features a battle against longtime opponent Florence Darlington Technical College, a big weekend for both teams with recent meetings being very competitive. The Lancers will have back to back home meetings against USC-Sumter (April 1-2) and USC-Salkahatchie (April 8-9) before traveling to Louisburg College (April 14-15) for a four game set and the last road series of the season. The sophomores will take to their home field for their last time on April 22-23rd as the Pioneers from Spartanburg Methodist make the trek to Doomsday Corner. The Region X Tournament is scheduled for May 6-10 in Burlington, North Carolina, the home field of minor league club Burlington Royals. The Eastern District Championship is slated for May 19-21 at the Region X Champion’s home field. The winner will then travel to Grand Junction, Colorado to represent the Eastern District in the 2017 NJCAA Division I World Series.