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Robert E. Lee High School
Bishopville

Cavaliers Get Another Shot at Pee Dee Academy, SCISA AA baseball crown

 

By Justin Driggers

Special Correspondent

Bishopville – It’s almost becoming a yearly tradition for Robert E. Lee Academy baseball team.

Thanks to a sweep of Marlboro Academy in the SCISA AA state semifinal series, the Cavaliers earned their way back into the state championship series for the fourth time in the last five years.

The opponent is an all-too familiar one as well.

Pee Dee Academy and REL played for the title in 2017 with the Eagles coming away with the victory. The Cavs looked to turn the tide this time in the best-of-three series that began on May 14.

“I thought we might be able to make it back there,” Cavs coach David Rankin said. “We lost some pretty good players, but I thought we had the (talent) to be able to replace them and we did.”

Pitching depth has been the key for REL, who was 23-3 entering the championship series. The Cavs have relied on a freshman, three sophomores, a junior and a senior to eat up innings. Despite the youth, the staff boats a sub-2.00 earned run average.

“We’re still young on the pitching side, but I feel like we’ve improved and thrown the ball well,” Rankin said.

Junior Austin Windham anchors the rotation with senior Gavin Melton closing things out at the end of games. Dustin Kennedy, Jenkins McCullum, Hunter McGee and Jet Smith are all counted on to toss significant innings as well.

Offensively, Robert E. Lee had right around a .358 team average heading into the state finals, Rankin said. Senior catcher Bryce Barrett, Melton and McCullum are all batting over .400 while senior center fielder Nick Laney has been getting on base at a high rate as the leadoff man.

Keaton Price starts in left field with Kennedy at short. Billy Jackson, Dylan Dubose and Drew Watson have also come off the bench to contribute.

Softball Update

The Lady Cavaliers finished the regular season with an 8-9 overall mark and a 4-4 record in the region.

REL drew top-seeded Marlboro Academy in the SCISA Class AA state tournament that began on May, 11 in Sumter.

Junior Carson Shannon led the team in batting at .492 entering the tournament. She’s also the top pitcher while splitting time at third base and short.

Sophomore outfielder/catcher Rebecca Dinkins is next with a .420 average followed by senior second baseman Meg Gaskins at .370. Both have scored 24 runs this season for REL.

Junior shortstop Claire Kelly entered the tournament batting .321 while sophomore third baseman/pitcher McKenzie Watts was hitting .297.

Super-utility player Emmie McCutcheon hit .286 while playing everywhere on the infield and in center field.

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