HARTSVILLE, S.C. – For the vast majority of Friday night, highschool softball followers had been handled to not one, however two stellar pitching performances within the 4A decrease state championship.
North Augusta’s Katelyn Cochran and Hartsville’s Alyssa Poston mixed to dazzle opposing hitters for 16 innings in a pair of dominant outings.
So dominant, in reality, that the primary contest required 9 innings to find out a winner – and there have been solely two innings that both group was in a position to scratch a run throughout in any respect the complete night.
Unfortunately for the Red Foxes, in each of these innings it was the Yellow Jackets who gained the benefit as a 3-2 nine-inning victory compelled a winner-take-all matchup that was additionally received by NA, who squeaked by with a 1-0 win.
The Jackets (30-2) advance to the state finals the place they are going to tackle Catawba Ridge. Hartsville ends the yr at 23-5.
“It was two great games,” HHS coach Amber Harvey stated afterwards. “I’m glad we went out like this – with some fight. I’m proud of my kids. Great season.”
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But Harvey knew dealing with Cochran could be a tall activity and runs would probably be at a premium.
“We tried to bunt a few times and we weren’t successful getting the bunts down,” she stated. “We told them yesterday at practice in order to prepare for today, we had to be able to get the bunt down and move people over into scoring position.
“We just didn’t capitalize on it today.”
Part of the rationale for that was Cochran, whose riseball received one of the best of quite a lot of Hartsville hitters. She struck out 14 batters within the opening sport and fanned 14 extra within the nightcap. She walked a complete of 5 and hit one.
“She was a great pitcher,” Harvey stated of Cochran. “She kept it around the plate a lot and we were swinging out our shoes for it, so yeah it was a good pitch.”
But Poston was equal to the problem. She had eight strikeouts in Game 1 and added 9 extra in Game 2 whereas strolling six complete.
Three of these got here within the ninth inning of the opening sport, nonetheless. With International Tiebreaker guidelines in impact, NA started the body with a runner on second. The Jackets wound up plating two runs by way of bases-loaded walks and one other on a fielder’s selection because the scoreless impasse was lastly damaged.
But Hartsville didn’t go down simply within the backside of the ninth. The Red Foxes started with a runner on second as effectively, and two batters in had climbed again to inside a run due to Olivia Martin’s two-run shot down the left subject line.
That marked simply the third hit of the sport for HHS, nevertheless it was additionally the final. Despite the following two batters reaching on free passes, Cochran was in a position to get the ultimate two outs to seal the victory and pressure a winner-take-all finale.
It performed out very like the primary sport had, with one exception. The Yellow Jackets had been in a position to get on the board previous to extras this time, due to a key hit by Roo Howell. With two down and a runner on second within the backside of the fourth, Howell lined a shot to the outfield that fell in as courtesy runner Liz Levins raced residence with the go-ahead rating.
Cochran and the NA protection did the remainder. Hartsville managed to get the tying run in scoring place in every of the next three innings, however couldn’t give you the clutch RBI.
The Red Foxes completed with seven mixed hits. Abbey Byrd had two within the opening sport, together with a double, whereas Kindan Dawson picked up a pair of singles in Game 2 together with Martin, who additionally stole two bases.
The Yellow Jackets had 12 complete hits, however Poston was in a position to work round a number of jams all through the day to maintain them off the scoreboard. Annabel Hurst had two hits for NA as did Nevaeh Ross, Madalynn Tigert, Haidyn Hutto and Howell.