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Robert E. Lee High School
Bishopville

With Solid Pitching, Defense Robert E. Lee Focused On Winning SCISA AA Baseball Title With Competitive Tournament Schedule Coming In April

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Bishopville—After playing in the state SCISA baseball finals four out of the last five years, with a gold medal win in 2014, coaching veteran David Rankin is strongly focused on making the 2019 season a state championship experience for his talented Robert E. Lee Cavaliers.

Over the past five seasons the Cavaliers are 115-34 and they are viewed as state title contenders again this season. In April the Cavaliers will be severely tested by competing in two high profile tournaments. They will play five games against mainly bigger public schools in the Mingo Bay Classic April 1-5 in the Myrtle Beach area.

Then a real challenge comes into the prestigious Southeastern Baseball Classic hosted by Hartsville High between April 15-20. “We might not win any games in the Southeastern Baseball Classic, but we will get some great experience to get us ready for the playoffs,” said Coach Rankin. “We are playing Queens Grant out of Charlotte, the Georgia Premier team out of Atlanta, host Hartville High and also play Northwestern High. After playing those teams we should be ready to finish up the season strong.”

Coach Rankin feels he has a team to win a state title this season. “In terms of goals we should play and compete for a state title this season with pitching and defense being our two main strengths right now,” said Coach Rankin who enters his 33rd year in coaching. “We need to hit the ball a little better, and play small ball a little better, to advance runners.

“We are used to playing our best baseball towards the end of the season once the playoffs start and we hope that happens again this season,” said Coach Rankin. “We have also been fortunate to avoid any serious injuries and staying healthy is very important also.”

After three games of the season the Cavaliers are 3-0 and their wins have come over the defending Class AA champions Pee Dee Academy 6-0, a 2-1 win over Williamsburg Academy and a 6-2 win over Marlboro Academy.

The team is led on the mound by junior all-region righty Dustin Kennedy and he plays shortstop when not pitching. Last season Kennedy was 5-0 on the mound and had under a 1.00 ERA. He is batting .340 after three games this season.

Kennedy and senior all-returner Austin Windham will pitch most of the key region games this year and both are considered number one’s for the Cavaliers. Windham lost only one game last year and he also has a below 1.00 ERA. He is currently batting around .330 for the Cavaliers. When not pitching Windham is a utility performer who plays mainly in the outfield.

Hunter McGee is fire right now with five RBI’s and he is hitting around .500 for us,” said Coach Rankin. McGee holds down third base.

Senior first baseman Josh Burns is a transfer from Thomas Sumter and second base duties are shared between Jenkins McCullum and Keaton Price depending on pitching assignments. McCullum is also a pitcher for the Cavaliers. Price can also play shortstop on anywhere in the outfield.

Catching duties are being handled by first year starter Evan Jackson and he has been in the program for several years. Jett Smith is a speedy center fielder starting for the second year with three years of varsity experience. Smith will also serve as the team closer on the mound.

Junior Drew Watson is a first-year starter in right field and either Windham or Price will see time in left field depending on pitching assignments. Key reserves on the roster are comprised of senior pitcher/first baseman Dylan DuBose, senior middle infielder P.G. Godwin, pitcher/outfielder Blane Hopkins and senior outfielder Jacob Baker. Brandt Boykin and Josh Kirven are also contributors on the team.

 Coach Rankin is assisted by Danny Price and Bo Bo Moore.

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