Former Columbia County prep baseball standouts continue to represent the area well at the college level. Over the weekend, pitchers from the county were on display, and they did not disappoint.
Here is a look at four former county standouts who had stellar efforts on the mound for their respective college teams this weekend.
(Greenbrier) Senior, South Carolina
It seems like 100 years ago that Belcher was baffling hitters at the high-school level. He won three high school state titles and finished his prep career with an astonishing 47-2 record on the mound with 516 strikeouts.
He has had an up-and-down career for the Gamecocks, but he is looking to finish with a bang and has earned a spot in the starting rotation. On Sunday, Belcher made his second start of the year, going six innings in the Gamecocks’ 6-4 win over Albany (New York). The lefty allowed only two earned runs and struck out seven batters. He also did not yield a walk.
The victory was Belcher’s first of the season. In his previous start, Belcher was terrific but lost a 3-2 decision. In the game, versus Liberty University, he worked 5.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs, while striking out nine batters and walking only one.
For the season, Belcher is now 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He is second on the team with 11.2 innings pitched, and he leads the team, by a wide margin, with 16 strikeouts. Also, he has walked only one batter all season. That’s an incredible 16:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
In Game One of a doubleheader Sunday, Beasley took the hill for the Pacers and was outstanding. He improved to 3-0 on the season after working six innings and allowing only four hits and one earned run. He also struck out a season-high 11 batters in a 9-3 Pacers victory. The win improves USC Aiken to 10-2 on the year.
Beasley is off to a great start this season. He is 3-0 in four starts. He sports a 2.79 ERA in 19.1 innings of work. He also leads the team with 27 strikeouts. His victory total is tied for third in the Peach Belt Conference, and his strikeout total ranks seventh.
(Greenbrier) Sophomore, USC Aiken
The 6-2 right-hander turned in a tremendous performance Sunday for the Pacers. He came in the game in relief of Beasley on Sunday and completely stifled Francis Marion’s bats. He worked two innings, allowing one hit, striking out five of the seven batters he faced. In five innings of work this season, Daniel has struck out eight batters and walked only one. He has also allowed only two hits and has yet to yield a run for the Pacers.
Stoner was sensational on Sunday against one of the top-ranked teams in the country. The 6-4, 230 pound standout silenced USC Aiken’s bats in Game Two of a doubleheader. Stoner went eight innings, allowing only three hits and two runs. He also struck out 12 batters. Francis Marion won the game 4-2 in 14 innings to improve to 5-5 on the season.
So far this year, Stoner is 1-0 in four appearances (two starts) with an impressive ERA of 1.82. In 24.2 innings, Stoner has struck out 33 batters (third in the conference) and walked only five. He has also held opposing hitters to a miniscule .123 batting average.
If our Columbia County products continue at their current pace, we will need to add a separate column just to list their performances. If not, we wouldn’t be able to focus on any other sports for the next few months. That is how good the college players from Columbia County have been so far this season.