A Champions Tribute: Lake View Gators

1A State Champion: Lake View

By: Austin Alexander-May 16, 2006


Lake View was crowned on Friday as South Carolina’s #1 1A team for the seventh time in twelve years. Since Kip Herlong took the head job in 1994 he has seen his Gators capture eight lower state titles en route to a 272-68 ledger during his tenure. So when his club found themselves down 1-0 in the Championship Series to defending champion Landrum, it understandable why Herlong may have been the calmest guy in the ballpark, he’d been there many times before.

But his kids hadn’t. They grew up in the Lake View area as fans or batboys during that decade of title runs, not between the lines. Herlong credits his players, “As a coach, I am very proud of this years Lake View team for many reasons. This team learned early on how to deal with adversity when we found out that Brooks Arnette (right) would not be in the starting rotation and Justin King was lost for the majority of the season due to an injury,” he said. “I feel that this helped us to succeed in the playoffs and come back to win the final two games after the ten-run drumming in the first game. Putting everything in perspective, our young men never panicked, which put them in a position to win the final two.”

The Gators were led all season on the mound by senior right-hander Bart Flowers. Flowers (left) was the winning pitcher in the decisive Game 3 versus Landrum and his only blemish on the year came four days before in Game 1. Flowers is set to attend Florence-Darlington Tech next year on the heels of season in which he finished 15-1 with a 0.68 ERA in 92 innings pitched. He struck out 99 and walked 21.

Junior Ronald Sampson (right) pitched in on the mound (7-1, 2.38 ERA, 82 K, 24 BB in 56 IP) but also paced Lake View at the plate hitting at a .522 clip. The middle infielder hit nine homers and drove in 40 runs in a year that Herlong said is one of the best he’s ever seen.

Arnette, a Lander signee, hit .407 with two homeruns and 21 RBI. Junior third baseman Josh Miller chipped in with a .412 batting average with 18 RBI in his role as a catalyst for the Lake View offense.

Prior to their showdown with Landrum, the Gators had enjoyed a 6-0 record in the playoffs and outscored their opponents 50-4. Lake View finished the 2006 campaign with a 25-3 mark. Congratulations to Herlong, his team and the Lake View community.


For more information on Lake View, click here.