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Orangeburg Post 4 roster has players from 8 schools

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The Orangeburg Post 4 American Legion Baseball team will open its 2021 season on Wednesday night with a road game at James Island High School against Charleston Post 147.

The team will then have its home opener a day later, hosting Charleston on Thursday at Mirmow Field at 7 p.m.

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After that, Post 4 will have six away games and six home games throughout the remainder of the regular season. The state playoffs begin July 12.

Coaches and players throughout the state are excited to have a summer American Legion baseball season a year after COVID-19 forced shutdown of sports leagues, along with a lot of American society.

"Because of the coronavirus, last year we were not able to have a team, which unfortunately hurt the players, parents and baseball spectators," said Dukes Isgett, head baseball coach for Post 4. "It especially hurt those players who were in their last year of high school and Legion baseball.

"But this is a new year, a new team and it is filled with excitement and high expectations! We have had 28-30 players attend tryouts from eight different schools. I applaud their coaches and parents' support of the Orangeburg Post 4 program."

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Isgett and his coaching staff -- including Tate Jamison (Orangeburg Prep head baseball coach), Chris Thomas (Orangeburg Prep assistant baseball coach) and Andrew Isgett (college player/former Post 4 player) -- narrowed the roster down to 20 players for the season. Once playoffs begin, the roster will be limited to 18.

The Post 4 players represent programs at Orangeburg Prep (6 players), Dorchester Academy (4 players), Calhoun County (3 players), Orangeburg-Wilkinson (2 players), Branchville (2 players), Woodland (1 player), Barnwell (1 player) and Andrew Jackson Academy (1 player).

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Orangeburg only has four returning players from the last Post 4 team to have a season, the 2019 team: Hunter Bauer of Branchville, John Mack of Orangeburg Prep, Colby Thomas of Orangeburg Prep and Ben Stokes of Dorchester Academy.

"The coaches we have bring a lot of experience to benefit the players and help develop and increase their abilities and knowledge of the game," Dukes Isgett said. "Between the coaches and players, I think we have a great group of guys who are cohesive and support each other, and are looking forward to playing this summer."

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Through two scrimmages against West Columbia, a few inter-squad scrimmages, practices, and three games in this past weekend's Florence Preseason Tournament, the Post 4 team has spent some time on the field together in preparation for a good season.

"I feel like we have a solid defensive team and are two deep at every position on the field," Dukes Isgett said. "The competition on the field is so close that we are still in the process of deciding on our starters and it may be a few games into the season before they solidify themselves.

"The majority of our team pitches, which gives us the opportunity to use them situationally, create match-ups, and hopefully keep our individual pitch count numbers as minimal as possible. Although most of the pitchers do not have excellent velocity, they do pitch to contact and have great command and control, which should give our defense an opportunity to shine."

Getting on base and into scoring position shouldn't be a major problem for Post 4 this season.

"Offensively, I feel our players, for the most part, protect the plate and square the ball up well," Dukes Isgett said. "There is a lot of speed on the team, which will help us on the base paths, and most are well-versed in playing small ball, sacrificing runners over, and hit-and-run situations.

"Most of our roster is contact hitters, but we do have a few power hitters as well; that, along with our speed on the base paths, should be beneficial for us."

Post 4 will be in league play against Charleston, Manning and Dalzell, with four games scheduled against each team.

"I hope the community will come to Mirmow Field and support the Orangeburg Post 4 American Legion baseball team, with players from eight different schools in our area," Dukes Isgett said. "I think this year should be exciting and fun, and we are all happy to be back to playing baseball for the summer."

As has been the case for a few years now, American Legion Baseball games no longer have 9 innings of regulation play, but 7 innings per game. Fans can attend and enjoy a game without spending their entire night at the ballpark.

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Orangeburg Post 4's Colby Thomas delivers a pitch to a Charleston batter in the 4th inning of the Thursday night game in Orangeburg.

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