Sharks, Panthers get key region victories in Florence

Two local baseball teams that know what it’s like to go deep in the playoffs kept their region hopes alive Tuesday night in Florence.

Defending Region VIII-AAA and Class AAA state champion St. James scored a 4-1 victory over Wilson to stay in the hunt for the region crown, while Class AAA Lower State runner-up Carolina Forest shut out South Florence 8-0.

Carolina Forest starting pitcher Chris Orlando threw a complete-game three-hitter, striking out 15 batters in the process. Ryan Elko went 2-for-4 with a home run to keep the Panthers’ slim Region VI-AAAA title hopes alive.

Carolina Forest needs to beat rival Conway on Friday night to earn a playoff spot. The Panthers travel to Myrtle Beach for a non-region game Wednesday.

On the other side of FloTown, the Sharks were getting a complete-game four-hitter from pitcher Preston Lane in the 4-1 win over the Tigers. He struck out three, walked two and allowed only one run.

St. James’ Carter Brakefield went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and Anders DeShields also went 2-for-3 to lead the Sharks at the plate. Kasey Crooks and Trey Merritt had one hit and an RBI apiece.

The Sharks have already locked up a playoff berth, but they face a Friday showdown with rival Socastee for the region title. The Braves suffered their first region loss Tuesday to North Myrtle Beach.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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