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Florence Area High School

Wilson softball enjoys playoff succcess


By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Florence – Perhaps the biggest surprise of the early rounds of the Class AAAA Lower State playoffs was the inspired play of the Wilson High softball team.

Wilson managed just three wins during region play but that was enough to earn the school’s first playoff berth since 1978. Not only did Wilson make the playoffs but the Tigers won two games, also a first in nearly 40 years.

The biggest win was an 8-4 road win over favored Cane Bay, which sent the Tigers into the district championship game. Wilson ended up losing to highly-ranked Lugoff-Elgin but the program made significant steps this season.

Fourth-year coach Shasha Tamplin was impressed by her team’s performance in the postseason.

“I’m sure no one at Wilson expected us to still be playing but we’re having fun,” Tamplin said. “We had a tough season but we lost a lot of close games. We were very competitive all season. I felt like we had a chance to win today. I know Cane Bay is a good team but I think we’re a lot better than our record. We have a good team.”

And Wilson loses only one senior starter so Wilson should expect a repeat playoff bid next season.

“We have almost all of them back and I think having some success here late is going to carry over into next year,” Tamplin said.

Wilson had 12 hits in the win over Cane Bay

Heading into the final week of state playoff competition, the Florence area held out one last hope for a state championship in the spring of 2017.

The West Florence High boys’ tennis team is the last remaining team in the area with a chance at a title. The Knights pulled off a pair of upsets in the AAAAA Lower State playoffs and reached the state championship against defending state titlist Spartanburg on May 13th.

West Florence, coached by one of the state’s winningest mentors, Charles Nelson, knocked off top-seeded Wando, 4-1, in the Lower State semi-finals, then followed up with a 5-2 win over Socastee to reach the state finals. The Knights carry a 17-2 record into the state championship match.

A steady and strong lineup has been consistent throughout the season. Burns Grich remains the number one singles player, followed by Hale Emerson at number two.

Wyatt Emerson is solid at number three singles and Austin Tyler plays number four. Rounding out the singles ladder is David Dubose at number five.

The softball teams at South Florence and West Florence made strong post-season runs in AAAAA district tournament play.

South Florence, the region 6-AAAAA regular season champion, was the team to beat in the district VI-AAAAA four-team bracket. The Bruins opened the tournament with a convincing 8-0 win over Wando, and reached the championship game with a 3-1 win over Dutch Fork.

Wando became the hot team in the district, beating Dutch Fork in an elimination game. South Florence again hosted Wando for the district championship and Wando had to beat the Bruins twice in one day to advance.

Wando won game one, 6-5, to force a final game for the title and the Warriors managed a 7-5 win to advance to the four-team Lower State championship bracket.

West Florence had a similar fate in the district V-AAAAA tournament. The Knights opened with a 4-3 win over Lexington. The winner’s bracket game with Ashley Ridge was a close game throughout but the Knights came out on the short end, 4-1.

Needing a win to stay alive, West Florence again beat Lexington in a close game, 3-2, and traveled to Ashley Ridge needing to win twice to advance. Again, the contest was close but West Florence came out on the losing end of a 4-2 contest.

The baseball teams at South and West Florence also qualified for the state playoffs. The Knights were ousted in two games, losing to Dutch Fork and Conway.

 South Florence lost their playoff opener to Ashley Ridge but bounced back with wins over James Island and Ashley Ridge to reach the district finals. The season ended with a wild 13-10 loss to Lexington.





© 2017 High School Sports Report

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