Home streak has Blowfish in 1st place

By Thomas Grant Jr.

It’s winning time at the “Fishbowl” in Lexington.

With seven straight home victories, six during the second half of the Coastal Plain League season, the Lexington County Blowfish entered the All-Star Break in first place in the West Division.

The turnaround from the 10-14 showing in the first half also helped push Lexington County (17-16, 7-2) back over .500 overall for the first time since May 30.

“Give the credit to the guys,” head coach K.C. Brown said. “There’s a lot of older guys that have played here in the past. So just a bunch of mature guys in the locker room that kind of hit the reset button. And honestly, it’s a lot of the guys that didn’t play in school ball or getting adjusted to the wood bats or coming to a new place. A lot of it is getting comfortable, playing with a bunch of guys that you never played with before.

“So I think it took some time getting comfortable. But I think the comfortability has gone up and the level of play has gone up as well.”

The surprising return of one of last year’s contributors to the CPL title has helped spark a turnaround. Centerfielder Dariyan Pendergrass of the College of Charleston has once again provided the leadoff hitting spark with a team-high 16 stolen bases to go with a .306 batting average in 13 games.

Another returnee whose helped boost the offense is infielder Zach Cowart. In 14 games, he and Gilbert graduate and CPL All-Star Ashby Vining have a team-high 13 RBI to go with a .327 batting average.

In last Friday’s 5-2 win over Holly Springs, he batted 2-4 with two RBI.

His former River Bluff teammate and CPL All-Star Walker Mitchell leads the Blowfish with a .358 batting average with 24 hits and 12 RBI.

The Blowfish added another local bat this past Friday. Dutch Fork graduate Evan Stone of the University of South Carolina had two hits and an RBI in his debut against the Salamanders.

“The local kids are the backbone of the team,” Brown said. “They really do love playing here.

They love the environment, so I give credit to them and those are the type of guys like that in the locker room who kind of lead the team and push the team in the right direction.”

On the mound, All-Star Game starting pitcher C.J. Czerwinski is sporting a 1.35 ERA with a team-high 36 strikeouts. While fellow All-Star Michael Watson has joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the American Association, Lexington County has added pitching in Kentucky’s Hayden Smith and Iowa’s Jack Whitlock, who combined for seven strikeouts in four innings against Holly Springs.

Chance Fitzgerald picked up his first win of the season, pitching five scoreless innings and striking out five before leaving following a rain delay.

Lexington County will play six of its remaining 14 games at home. Given the team’s struggles on the road, Brown believes it’s important to keep up the winning ways at Lexington County Baseball Stadium in hopes of earning a return trip to the Petitt Cup to defend their championship.

FRIDAY – at Forest City 7 p.m.
SUNDAY – at Holly Springs 5:05 p.m.
MONDAY – at Florence 7 p.m.


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