Defending Region 4-3A baseball champion Lugoff-Elgin is replacing five starters this season but coach Randy Stokes is excited about the pitching staff at his disposal.
“It’s may be the deepest staff we’ve ever had,” said the Demons manager. “If we can hit the ball and play good defense, we have a chance to win our share of games.”
The Demons went 19-6 but clearly want to hang around a little longer come playoff time after failing to advance out of the district phase a year ago.
The returning staff ace is senior Forrest Koumas, a South Carolina commitment. Koumas went 4-2 with one save with a microscopic 0.65 ERA. In 43.2 innings of work, the hard-throwing right-hander struck out 62 and issued just one walk while allowed just 19 hits and four earned runs. He was fairly decent offensively, as well (.543, eight home runs, 33 RBIs).
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Fellow seniors Nick Mincey and Matt Cook are the other projected primary starters. Mincey was 4-1 in 27 innings of work, and fired a no-hitter in the playoffs. Cook was 2-1 in 15 innings of work. Junior Will Dorton (2-0 in 11 innings) and senior E.J. Ruiz, a newcomer, will also find work on the hill.
The returning starters in the field include junior shortstop Jacob Murphy, senior Ty Robinson at second base, junior Blake Outlaw in center field and senior Stephen Boneparte in right. Koumas will play at third when not on the mound and Cook will be back at first base.
Murphy, who will be back in the leadoff spot in the order, hit .361 with 15 RBIs a year ago. Cook batted a solid .341. Robinson, who shifts to second from third base, is looking to improve on his .256 batting mark. Outlaw, an all-region pick, shifts to center from left and figured to bat in the No. 3 hole after hitting .328 with 13 RBIs as a sophomore. Boneparte, a three-year starter who is out late from wrestling, hit .327 in 2009.
The Demons opened the season with a 3-1m third-place showing at the Carolina Ale House Classic tournament. Koumas and Cook were named to the all-tournament team. Koumas had 10 strikeouts in his first start of the year against Dreher went 4-for-4 at gthe plate with a two home runs. Cook picked up the mound decision vs. Ridge View, had three two-hit games and belted a grand slam in L-E’s win over Dutch Fork.