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Abbeville High School

Young Abbeville team gaining valuable experience

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

 Abbeville—The Abbeville baseball team finished second in their region a year ago and advanced to the district finals before falling to Cheraw. While a large portion of that group graduated, head coach Nick Milford is optimistic about the Panthers’ season in 2019.

“We’ve got a lot of new, young guys working, but they’re talented. It’s just a matter of getting them comfortable where they’re at and getting them more reps. We’re still going to contend and compete every night. We’re looking to get some guys good experience early and hopefully make a run,” Milford said.

Abbeville is off to a solid start to the campaign, currently holding a 5-2-1 overall record, including a perfect 3-0 mark in conference play. They swept Batesburg-Leesville and won the first game in the home-and-home series with Fox Creek, but there are still plenty of tough games ahead.

“We haven’t played Fox Creek in several years, nor Saluda or Silver Bluff. I’ve looked at scores and I know what we’re up against. It’s going to be some good, competitive games in the conference and we’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game every night,” Milford said.

Leading the way for the Panthers has been sophomore right fielder/pitcher Tyler Overholt. The College of Charleston verbal commit has been a standout at the plate (.375 batting average) and on the mound.

“He’s seen the ball well lately and has sprayed it around. He had a home run the other night and he’s pitched some big innings for us. He’s been fairly consistent on the mound,” Milford said.

Senior catcher Hunter Rodgers, senior first baseman/pitcher Grayson Powell and sophomore shortstop Evan Sellars are each hitting over .300 as well. Rodgers is a four-year starter that signed with Brevard.

“He’s a leader and a competitor, and very knowledgeable of the game. He’s really done a good job developing, defensively and offensively, over the last couple of years,” Milford said.

Also in the starting lineup is sophomore pitcher/outfielder Thomas Beauford, freshman second baseman Ty Price, junior left fielder Coleton Grounsell, centerfielder/pitcher Matthew Ellis, and sophomore third baseman/relief pitcher Taylor Scott.

“We’ve mainly used him in relief, and he’s come in and handled some tough situations. We changed his arm slot this year and he’s adjusted and thrown a lot more strikes this year,” Milford said of Scott.

Caleb Freeman and Jackson Clemmons have logged innings at second base and third base, respectively, while Jonah Cook has mainly been used as a relief pitcher.

Jim Porter has served as Abbeville’s designated hitter while Trent Delgado (utility) and Rusty Chappell (first base) look to increase their roles as well. Pitcher John Grady Bolt, who has been out with an injury, rounds out the roster.

“Pitching was strong early, but it hasn’t been as sharp the last few outings. Our defense has been pretty solid and we’ve finally started to get some runs across the plate the other night. We’re starting to swing the bat a little better. We’re having a better approach and a better game plan when we get in the box,” Milford said.

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