For sophomore right-hander Jeremy Buckner and the Sumter baseball team, Tuesday’s regular-season opener at home against Blythewood was a 180-degree reversal of fortune.
Bucker and the Gamecocks lost to the Bengals 11-1 last week at the Red Bank Invitational preseason tournament at White Knoll. Last night Bucker and Sumter prevailed 9-1.
Blythewood scored a run in the top of the first inning before Buckner got into a groove. He ended up tossing a complete-game four-hitter. Sumter supplied all the offensive support Buckner would require by plating four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Bruce Caldwell stroked a double for one run, and Stephen Curtis drove in two more with a single. Curtis added a two-run double in the sixth.
Sumter is now 4-1, while Blythewood dropped to 3-2. The Gamecocks went 3-1 at the RBI, beating A.C. Flora 5-4 in the third-place final on Sunday. Bruce Caldwell, Josh Kisamore and Curtis picked up tournament mound decisions. Michael Blackmon and Curtis were named to the all-tournament team, and Curtis emerged as the RBI Home Run Derby champion.
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Michael Hanzlik started for Blythewood and tossed three shutout innings before two errors aided the Sumter breakout in the fourth. Hanzlik scored the lone Bengals run on Will Ferrell’s RBI single.