Several Gamecock baseball players will get to return to the field soon and four of them will do so in the Columbia area.
The Lexington Blowfish from the Coastal Plain League announced Wednesday that first baseman Wes Clarke, outfielder Brady Allen and pitchers Brett Kerry and Andrew Peters would play for the team this summer. The Blowfish are planning to open their season on July 1.
A handful of South Carolina players join the Blowfish each summer, while others play for other teams in the summer college league. Outfielder Noah Myers and pitcher John Gilreath were scheduled to play for the team in Florence, but it appears that team may not play this summer, while pitcher RJ Dantin will play in Savannah, according to TheBigSpur.com. The elite Cape Cod league in New England, which features the top college players in the country, has already announced that it will not play this summer.
"The Blowfish are appreciative of the wonderful relationship we have with the University of South Carolina baseball program and staff," Assistant General Manager Justin Hall said. "These young men will continue the great connection between Gamecock baseball and Lexington County."
Clarke and Allen, both sophomores this past season, were starters for the Gamecocks, who were 12-4 when the 2020 season was canceled. Clarke, the starting first baseman, was batting .286 with a team-leading 22 RBI. He led the SEC in home runs with eight. Allen led South Carolina with a .327 average.
Kerry and Peters were key members of South Carolina’s improved pitching staff. Kerry, a freshman All-American in 2019, started the season in the weekend rotation and was 2-0 as a starter. He was moved to the bullpen after the relief corp struggled and blew four early-season games. He recorded one save and opponents were batting just .224 against him.
Peters, a junior-college transfer coming off Tommy John surgery, made three appearances, including a scoreless ninth inning in South Carolina’s win over Presbyterian.
While Major League Baseball continues to put together plans for a shortened 2020 season, the Coastal Plain League will be one of the first sports leagues in the country to resume play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are excited to play baseball," Blowfish co-owner Bill Shanahan said in a team release. "We look forward to the day when we can safely open the ballpark to our fans and enjoy our National Pastime. We're continuing to formulate the guidelines establishing the proper procedures for the safety of our players, staff and fans."