Nick Mincey threw the first no-hitter in 10 years at Lugoff-Elgin, and the gem could not have come at a better time. Mincey struck out six and walked four while allowed zero hits on Monday night to lead the host Demons to a 5-0 win over Chapin in a Class 3A District IV elimination game.
The top-ranked Demens (19-5) advance to the district finals on Wednesday at Greer, while the Eagles finished the season with a 13-11 record. Greer beat L-E 2-0 on Saturday in a splendid pitching duel between respective aces Forrest Koumas and Greer left-hander Daniel Palka.
L-E coach Randy Strokes said he is unsure of his starting pitcher in Wednesday’s first-game rematch with the Yellow Jackets. The Demons must win to force a second game. Only a sweep can send L-E on to the Upper State championship tournament.
“We still are not sure how we will use Forrest (on Wednesday),” said Stokes. “I suspect Greer is going to hold Palka out of the first game, hoping they can win and have him ready to start in the Upper State opener (later in the week). We have to win the first game to have a chance, so we have to make our decision based on what would be best for the team's chances to winning two games.”
Mincey was brilliant in his clutch performance, one made even more impressive by the fact that he has had to deal with tightness in his pitching arm of late.
“We had a real good bullpen session last week, and he said he felt really good and loose,” said Stokes. “He threw free and easy and was very sharp.”
L-E scored five runs without posting a single RBI vs. Chapin. Jacob Murphy and Koumas scored all the runs Mincey would require in the first inning. Murphy led off with a single and eventually scored on an error. Koumas drew a walk and scored all the way from second base on an infield hit by Justin Ross. Ross and courtesy runner Griff Lynch scored in the fourth on an error, and Jacob Smith tallied the final run in fifth, coming home on a wild pitch after ripping a double and moving to third by tagging up on a deep fly ball to the fence by Koumas.