Johnson confident entering playoffs despite Sumter P-15's offensive slump

By DENNIS BRUNSON dennis@theitem.com
Posted 7/14/19

The Sumter P-15's are going into their second-round series in the American Legion baseball state playoffs against Aiken Post 26 in an offensive slump.

Sumter was shut out in two regular-season games last week, losing to Goose Creek 1-0 on Monday …

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Johnson confident entering playoffs despite Sumter P-15's offensive slump

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The Sumter P-15's are going into their second-round series in the American Legion baseball state playoffs against Aiken Post 26 in an offensive slump.

Sumter was shut out in two regular-season games last week, losing to Goose Creek 1-0 on Monday and Florence 10-0 on Friday. The P-15's have 20 hits in their last four games, the previous two wins coming against Horry, 3-1 and 2-1.

However, head coach Curtis Johnson has full confidence his team will be ready to go when the best-of-5 series opens on Monday at Riley Park.

"Yes, we've been in an offensive slump, but I feel like we're going to be OK," said Johnson, whose team is 18-7 on the season. "I know our guys are going to go out and compete. We've got some good hitters on this team, and I think we're going to be OK."

Sumter and Aiken both earned first-round byes after finishing second in their respective leagues. The P-15's were second in League II, while Post 26 finished second in League III.

Aiken is 8-11 overall and finished 6-6 in its league. It won six of its final eight games to slip past Lexington for second place.

The teams played one another in a preseason tournament with Sumter coming away with a 15-6 triumph.

"We know about them, but I'm really more concerned about what we do," Johnson. "We know if we do what we're supposed to do we'll be OK."

Despite the slump, Sumter was still batting .325 as a team before Friday's game against Florence, in which it had four hits. Jackson Hoshour led the team with a .471 average, while Chandler Hunter was batting .409, Drake Thames .369 and Corey Blackley .367.

Left-hander Josh Bryant will start on the mound for Sumter in Game 1. He is 4-4 on the season.

"We're going to take each game (pitching-wise) individually," Johnson said. "We're going to do what we have to do, and then we'll see who we have."

Post 26's leading hitters are Hunter Steger (.471), Nolan Grice (.422), Dalton Graves (.358) and Brad Golden (.353).