By Thomas Grant Jr.
The 2023 American Legion senior season ended for West Columbia Post 79 on Friday.
It lost 6-4 to Lexington Post 7 in a game moved to Lexington High School after Thursday’s rainout at Brookland-Cayce High School.
West Columbia took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Josh Raines.
Lexington answered with two runs in the top of the third as Evan Etheredge scored from second on a throwing error from the outfield and Jayden Carnahan followed with an RBI fielder’s choice.
Pitcher Scott Hardy held West Columbia scoreless for four straight innings. Meanwhile, Lexington added to its lead with a run in the sixth and three runs in the seventh.
West Columbia looked to rally in the bottom half of the inning. The first two batters reached base and Raines scored on a passed ball.
Patrick Evans entered the game and after striking out John Paul Forrester, walked Brent Stukes and gave up an RBI single to Parker Starkey to make it 6-3. A single by Corbin Wright loaded the bases and Mason Turner drove in the final run for Post 79 with a fielder’s choice.
After a Connor Wood walk, Evans got Blaine Redmond to pop out to catcher Wyatt McPherson to end the game.
Lexington will travel to Camden Post 17 for an 11 a.m. Midland Region final matchup. If Lexington wins, it forces a deciding game afterward with the champion going to the state tournament in Florence.
West Columbia ends the season with an 11-12 record.
In the Junior playoffs, Irmo Post 7 and West Columbia both advanced to their respective Best-of-3 series.
Irmo opens Game 1 Monday versus Lexington #3 at Lexington High School at 7 p.m. and West Columbia faces Richland Blue #1 at A.C. Flora High School.