A.C. Flora enters the Class 3A state baseball playoffs ranked No. 1 and armed with a deep pitching staff. It could be a recipe for success as the Falcons go trolling for their first state championship since 2007.
Flora (17-7) starts the journey as the No. 1 seed in District V and a first-round home game against Hartsville.
Pitching has been the foundation of the Falcons success to date. Player Loving (3-1, 2 saves, 1.91 ERA), Davis Funderburk (3-1, 1 save, 2.97 ERA), Matt Wallace (4-1, 1 save, 1.00 ERA) and Daniel Walker (3-1, 3.64 ERA) are the foundation men of a staff that has compiled a 2.60 team ERA and limited opposition hitters to a .199 batting average.
The big guns offensively are blue-chip senior David Houser (.411, 21 RBI, 8 HR), Schroder Carlton (.311, 19 R, 10 RBI), Jake Lewis (.414, 19 R, 21 RBI), Donald Gillispie (.282, 20 RBI) and States Clawson (.373, 15 R, 13 RBI).
Chapin, the No. 2 seed in District VI, also opens at home against a tough Camden team that went from a No. 1 seed to a No. 3 with a loss in the regular season finale. Chapin stands at 17-4, while Camden enters at 13-10.
Brookland-Cayce (10-12) is in the unfamiliar position of entering postseason play with a losing record. The Bearcats are the No. 3 seed in District 5 and travel to face Marlboro County, co-champs in Region 6. Deandre Heath (.507, 21 R), Patrick Burt (14 r, 15 RBI) and Zach Sightler (.356, 15 R, 12 RBI) have been B-Cs top offensive threats. Sightler is also the ace of the pitching staff (5-2, 1 save, 1.43 ERA).
Dreher (11-10) is back in the playoffs. The Blue Devils, the No. 4 seed in District VI, hits the road to face Darlington.