North Augusta softball on brink of elimination | Sports activities


This was precisely what North Augusta softball coach Craig Gilstrap could not occur.

Especially not at this level within the season.

The keys to playoff success are not any secret for the Yellow Jackets – make outs when offered with the chance, and proceed to hit on the scorching tempo that had contributed to a 27-1 document and had gotten them to the Class AAAA Lower State event.

Neither of these issues occurred Saturday, and now the Jackets are on the point of elimination. South Florence turned a late error into two runs and held North Augusta to simply 4 hits in a 2-1 win, spoiling one other sensible outing from pitcher Katelyn Cochran and ending the Jackets’ 23-game win streak in a sport postponed from Friday and performed at South Aiken as an alternative of the Jackets’ dwelling area at Riverview Park.

“We’ve harped on it from the beginning of the year,” Gilstrap stated. “You cannot give a team extra outs. We flub a bunt in the sixth inning, then the top of the order gets to come back up and as a result they end up getting two hits and two unearned runs, and they beat us. (Cochran) pitched her heart out, had 15 strikeouts, gave up three hits, and we lose the game. You can’t do that in the playoffs. It’s unacceptable. And we have to hit the ball better, too. We can’t get four hits and win a game in the playoffs, either.”

The prime of the sixth is the place it went fallacious for North Augusta’s (27-2) protection. A dropped ball at first base on a bunt try put the leadoff batter aboard earlier than Cochran received two fast outs. However, that error to begin the inning meant the Bruins’ (15-7) prime of the order would come again up, and No. 2 hitter Keke Fulton made the Jackets pay with a triple to the wall in left area to tie the sport at 1 apiece. MaKayla Arceneaux was subsequent on the plate and promptly singled up the center, placing South Florence forward 2-1.

The Jackets had been rapidly retired within the backside of the sixth, and a Kadence Adams infield single was all they may muster within the seventh. The sport ended when Haidyn Hutto’s arduous line drive to 3rd was caught, then thrown again to first for a double play.

Now the Jackets should combat their manner by the losers’ bracket. They’ll host West Florence on Monday, whereas South Florence will face Hartsville within the winners’ bracket.

“We’ve just got to make plays. We’ll get on the field and hit a little bit tomorrow. We’ve just got to relax,” Gilstrap stated. “We’ve been in this situation. We’ve played some really good teams. We played five games in one day. We played five games in two days. We’ve played a lot of games. We’ll just have to be road warriors now and do it that way if we want to win it.”

North Augusta received on the scoreboard within the backside of the fourth when Audri Bates ripped a triple down the third bottom line, then scored when Nevaeh Ross adopted that up with a sacrifice fly. 

There wasn’t far more offense than that for a crew averaging greater than 10 hits and almost 9 runs per sport. South Florence pitcher Payton Perry retired the primary seven batters she confronted, and she or he solely allowed 4 hits (three singles) in opposition to North Augusta’s highly effective offense.

Still, the one run was virtually sufficient run help to get Cochran the win. She struck out 15, together with a stretch of seven in a row, and was untouchable for many of the sport.

“She’s a good leader. She works hard. She’s always wanting to win for the team. She’s always picking her teammates up,” Gilstrap stated. “Even when we made an error or booted a couple of balls, she was still trying to keep them to just keep their head up. That was a lot of wins in a row up there, so we’ve got to regroup.”

To advance to the state championship sequence, North Augusta might want to beat West Florence on Monday, beat the Hartsville-South Florence loser on Wednesday after which beat whoever wins that sport twice on Friday. It’s a tall order, however Gilstrap loaded his crew’s schedule with tournaments and hard opponents for a purpose – and the Jackets know all too nicely that it is attainable for a crew to advance after dropping the primary sport.

“(Darlington) did that to us last year. We beat them, and then they came back through the losers’ bracket and beat us twice on a Friday to advance,” Gilstrap stated. “It’s been done several times. Lugoff-Elgin won a state championship last year by doing the exact same thing. They came back. If we can take care of business and win one game at a time, we’ll be right back in this thing.”

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