Rams Head Coach Jimmy Weatherford said that his team was excited to be on the field with the Wild Gators as their program is almost legendary. Weatherford is a class act coach that had as much praise for the Wild Gators as he did his own team.
“When you beat Lake View you have beaten the best and I am so proud of the effort our players and coaches put forth in this three game series,” said Weatherford. The Rams finish the season with a 26-7 record.
Also present at the championship game was the winning coach of the 1963 team, Bill Matthews along with many of the players who played in the 1963 championship game and responsible for bringing home the schools first state title in the sport.
Lake View took game one in the series 3-2 in Lake View with the Rams evening the series at 1-1 with a 6-2 victory in Chesterfield, sending the final game to a neutral ball park with Hartsville’s Kelly Town Stadium where they downed the Lake View High School Wild Gators 11-6.
Following the presentation of the trophies the two coaches, Weatherford and Matthews could be seen celebrating on the field. The win bringing the team back to a full circle had the 1963 team leader moved to tears.
Game Highlights: By Craig Brown of the Dillon Herald
Taylor King was lead off batter for the Rams, getting a double to centerfield. Jordon McCall advanced Taylor to third with a fielder’s choice grounder to second. Colby Croxton sent a line drive to right field for a base hit scoring Taylor. Seth Truesdale got to second base on an error advancing Croxton to third. Trent Allen sent a deep shot to the left field wall scoring the two runners on base with Allen holding at second with the double.
A.J. Hyatt scored Lake View’s first run of the game off a base hit from Jordan Miller, who was later tagged out at home. (Photo by Edison Arnette.)
The Ram’s DH Caleb Pate advanced Allen to third with a fielder’s choice play at second. Kelly Butler drew a walk putting runners at first and third. Chase Freeman sent a high fly ball to right where Wild Gator right fielder Skyler Jennings made the catch for the third out with the Rams out front 3-0.
The Rams started sophomore pitcher Zack Boswell and Boswell took the Wild Gators three up and out as he got some great play from his outfielders. The Ram’s ninth batter in rotation, Solomon Jordan, led off with a deep fly out to left field sending the top of the Ram’s batting order back to the plate. King sent a short drive to center for a base hit and McCall flied out to right holding King at first. Croxton put runners at first and second with a base hit to left but no further damage was done as Truesdale sent a deep fly to left where Wild Gator Steele Spivey made the catch to end the inning.
Wild Gator batter Zack Allen got to base with a solid hit to left field to start the bottom of the second but Boswell settled down and got the next three Wild Gator batters out to hold the Ram’s lead at the end of two innings 3-0. Walters made quick work of the Ram sluggers in the top of the third inning with a three up and out to put the Gators back at the plate.
A.J. Hyatt got things going in the bottom of the third inning with a line shot to left field for a base hit. DH Eric Munoz took a wild pitch to the back to put runners at first and second. Chris Ford loaded the bases with a hit past the short stop. A base hit by Jordan Miller sent Hyatt home for the Wild Gators first run. With Cody Cox at bat a low fast ball on the third strike got away from the Ram’s catcher that scored Munoz but Cox was called out at first as the base was occupied.
Some fast running by Zack Allen loaded the bases as a third strike got past the catcher again. Walters drew a walk bringing Miller in for run three. David Townsend hit into a force out at home and Spivey went down swinging hard to end the inning with the game 3-3 at the end of three.
Freeman started the top of the fourth inning with a walk and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Solomon Jordan. King stepped up and sent one over the left centerfield wall for a two run homer. McCall grounded out to short followed by Croxton with his third hit of the game going to right field. Croxton was held on base as Truesdale flied out to left field with the Rams taking a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
Zack Allen shows quick thinking as he takes off for first base while the ball gets away from the catcher on the third strike, allowing Allen to load the bases for Lake View. (Photo by Craig Brown.)
Hyatt led off with a base hit past short but was called out advancing to second as Munoz hit into a fielder’s choice play at second. Miller made it to base on a walk but the Wild Gators could not advance anyone to home thanks to some good fielding from the Ram’s defenders.
The Rams started the top of the fifth with Allen, Pate, and Butler getting to base on hits to left, right and then center with Allen scoring on Butlers hit to center. Freeman hit into a double play initiated by Walters on the mound. Jordan drew a walk and was followed to the plate by King. Coach Herlong elected to walk King who was having a hot night at the plate and load the bases, which was a wise move as McCall followed King with a pop fly to first to end the top of the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth the Wild Gators managed hits by Townsend and Spivey but three other batters were robbed of hits by some good glove from the Ram’s outfielders. At the end of five the Rams were up 6-3. Walters put Croxton on base with a hit by pitch and Herlong felt that Walters had given it his all at this point and decided to make changes on the mound and else where. Miller took over the mound, and Hyatt went from third to catcher, sending Allen to right field and Walters to third. John Michael Brown entered the game at second base. Miller struck out the first two batters he faced, gave up a walk, and allowed an RBI single by Butler, then struck out Freeman to put the Gators back at bat.
The Rams relieved Boswell and sent Kelly Butler to the mound. Butler walked Munoz but Ford hit into a double play followed by Miller being thrown out at first to end the sixth inning with the Rams out front 7-3. S. Jordan was lead off batter for the Rams in the top of the seventh and was thrown out at first by short stop Cox. King drew another walk and tried to steal second base but the strong arm of Hyatt and the good glove position of Brown at second was way ahead of him for out number two.
It looked like a short at bat for the Rams but the talented hitters from Chesterfield proved otherwise with McCall and Croxton getting base hits followed by Truesdale loading the bases with a walk. Trent Allen hit into an infield error that scored McCall and Croxton, and Truesdale scored on a bad throw to the plate.
Miller was relieved with two out and a runner at second by Brown and Miller returned to second base. Brown allowed Pate a double with an RBI and finished the inning with Butler flying out to right with Lake View now trailing Chesterfield 11-3 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Cox started off the inning with a walk followed by Zack Allen with a base hit to right. Walters doubled to right centerfield scoring Cox and Allen. Townsend advanced Walters to third on a fielder’s choice play. Spivey made it to base and scored Walters on an infield error but the late rally would end here as Butler put the next two Lake View batters down to seal the 11-6 win.
For the Rams, Boswell faced 26 batters, recorded three strikeouts with three walks and one batter hit by pitch, and allowed seven hits with three runs. Butler faced 10 batters, posted a strikeout with two walks, and allowed two hits and three runs.
On the mound for the Wild Gators, Walters faced 29 batters, recorded a strikeout with three walks and two batters hit by pitch, and allowed 10 hits and six runs. Miller faced 11 batters, posting three strikeouts and a walked batter, allowing three hits and four runs, while Brown faced two batters and gave up one hit and one run.
At bat for the Rams, Croxton was 4-4 with an RBI, also getting to base on a hit by pitch; King was 3-3 with a double and a home run with two RBIs and had two walks; Butler was 2-4 with two RBIs with a walk and a fielder’s choice; Pate was 2-4 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and a fielder’s choice; Trent Allen was 2-5 with a double and four RBIs, also getting to base on an error; McCall was 1-5 with two fielder’s choice plays; Truesdale got to base on an error and a walk; Jordan had a walk and a sacrifice bunt; and Freeman made it to base on a walk.
At bat for Lake View, Zack Allen was 2-4 also getting to base on an error; Hyatt was 2-4; Miller was 1-3 with an RBI and a walk; Walters was 1-3 with a double and two RBIs; Spivey was 1-4 with an RBI, also getting to base on an error; Townsend was 1-4 with two fielder’s choice plays; Ford was 1-4; Cox got to base on an error and a walk; and Munoz got to base on a walk and a hit by pitch.