BISHOPVILLE -- Robert E. Lee Academy's varsity baseball team beat Marlboro Academy 8-0 behind a dominant performance from senior pitcher Dustin Kennedy on Friday.
"He was on tonight," said Robert E. Lee head coach David Rankin. "He hadn't thrown …
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"He was on tonight," said Robert E. Lee head coach David Rankin. "He hadn't thrown but 30 pitches all year. He's had a hamstring pull so that's why he didn't bat. We didn't know if he could pitch tonight, but he looked like he was in midseason form probably. He only threw about 64 pitches in seven innings and only allowed one or two hits. He's been that way for two years now. When we put him out there he gives up one run or none just about every time we pitch him."
Kennedy's performance helped ease the tension surrounding what could prove to be the final game of REL's season amid concerns about the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak. SCISA has suspended all athletic events until April 3, and coaches and student-athletes are hopeful the games can start up again at that point. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday a recommendation that all events of 10 or more people should be cancelled for the next eight weeks, putting the entire season in jeopardy.
"When you talk about (youth sports), you err on the side of safety all the time," said Rankin. "I think it hurts the seniors, but it is what it is. How do you know what's going to happen? How do you know what's safe and not safe? We're sad, but if it is (the end of the season), it's understandable."
If the season does resume at some point, the Cavaliers -- who are the defending SCISA 2A state champions -- figure to be in line for a shot at a repeat. However, REL must replace Austin Windham, and three players that hit over .400 last year.
"We lost a lot of good players in Hunter McGee, Josh Burns, Evan Jackson and Windham," said Rankin. "Windham had 58 RBI (runs batted in) last year, and was the High School Sports Report Player of the Year. So, we lost a lot, but we still feel like we've got some good pitching. We still think we'll be OK."
This year, the Cavaliers are led by Kennedy and Jet Smith. Once healthy, Smith figures to be one of REL's top pitcchers.
"Jet's a left-handed pitcher throwing 83 or 84 (miles per hour)," said Rankin. "He threw to one batter last night. "It was the first time he was able to pitch, and he struck the batter out on four pitches. He brings a lot to the table too. We feel like we have three or four good pitchers,and we just have to hit the ball a little bit better I think."
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