(2008 - 2009) - Softball

vs. Hillcrest HS ,

Date: Apr. 16, 2009
Time: 07:00 PM
Location: Mauldin High School

Thursday, April 16th: #1 MHS 4 - Hillcrest HS 3
          R  H  E
HHS   3  6  0
MHS   4  7  8
Hitters:K.Corn 1-3,2b;B.Davis 1-3,3run HR:
J.Stovall 2-2,2b;A.Bagwell 1-3,2b;B.Barnhill 1-3;
J.Westmoreland 1-3
Although the sky was clear, there was a palpable tension in the air
at  Clayton Field on the Mauldin high Campus Thursday evening as the Lady
Rams of Hillcrest  came to challenge the Mauldin High Varsity Softball team
in a Region contest and intense rivalry game.  State 4A number 1 ranked
Mauldin entered the game with a 5-0 region record.  Unranked Hillcrest
entered the game with 4-1 region slate, having defeated Byrnes the night
before and always ready for a fight against their arch rival Mavericks.
      Speedy Ram Sylver Samuel greeted Mav pitcher Ashley Bagwell  with a
basehit into left-center to start the game and took second on a bobble in
the outfield. Bagwell got the next hitter to groundout to Amelia Gillentine
at 1st base, then struck out the next two to retire the side.  Mauldin's
start was inauspicious as well as the first three batters went down in
order to end the first inning.  Hillcrest's top of the second was much like
their first...Leadoff hitter Hannah Swoap singled to left, was advanced to
second by a sacrifice bunt, but then saw Bagwell strikeout one and another
called out for contacting a batted ball in the field of play.  following
suit, Mauldin got its leadoff batter aboard when Jordan Stovall was struck
by the third pitch.  Her courtesy runner, Jessica Lyles, was then forced
out at second on a ball hit to short and the next two batters were struck
out by Hillcrest Freshman, Courtney Roberts.  At the end of two innings -
Hillcrest 0 - Mauldin 0.
      After a strikeout to Hillcrest's 9th batter in the top of the third,
Samuel ignited the Black and Red offense again with a hit to left. She took
advantage of an errant throw and took second base once again. But a pop-up
and groundout to the right side of the Mauldin infield retired the side.
The Lady Mavs  were looking nervous against their crosstown rivals and the
pressure applied by their team speed was generating uncharacteristic sloppy
play by the home team in Orange and White, even though no Hillcrest runs
had yet been the result.  Mauldin's offensive half of the third inning
would be more reminiscent of the team that had battered this season's
opponents to date by a combined score of 86 to 9.     With one out, Senior
Jenna Westmoreland cracked a hit up the middle.  One pitch later, Junior
leadoff hitter, Kenzi Corn drove a double to the left-centerfield fence to
bring Westmoreland around to score the game's first run.  With Corn on
second, DP Brianna Davis crushed the first pitch she saw over the same left
centerfield fence section for a two run homer and a jubilant mugging by her
ecstatic teammates at the plate.  With two outs, Stovall sent a double down
the leftfield line, but no further scoring was forthcoming in the Mauldin
      The lead was short-lived as inexplicably, the Lady Mavs got tight,
nervous or for some other reason - SLOPPY.  Hillcrest's Morgan Durham led
off the top of the 4th with a double into the leftfield corner.  After a
strikeout and a walk, a dropped ball on a force play to third resulted in a
Hillcrest run.  A play later, a dropped ball on a play at the plate allowed
another unearned Hillcrest score.  Then  Hillcrest's Taylor Dales laced a
shot into left to bring home the tying run. Mauldin made still another
error in the frame before a strikeout and groundout to short stopped the
Mauldin defensive bleeding.  Mauldin was fortunate in the top of the fifth
inning that Hillcrest couldnt plate two other runners that reached base as
the result of two more Mauldin errors.  A pop to Landers at shortstop and a
strikeout by Bagwell would sent the Lady Mavs back to their dugout to try
and win this game offensively !  It was not to be in the bottom of the 4th
and 5th innings as Mauldin went down in order in each of those frames.
      In the top of the sixth, the Lady Mavs made one more defensive error
to put the leadoff runner on base, but Bagwell threw out Hillcrest's swift
leadoff batter  to record the first out.  Ram Melanie Henderson got an
infield hit that moved the runner to third, then promptly stole second
uncontested. With two in scoring position, Bagwell fielded the next
slapper's punch at the mound and threw to Stovall who applied a strong tag
on the runner trying to score from third for the second out.  Senior Haley
Register then collected a one-hopper at third and threw to Gillentine at
first to end the top half of the 6th, with the score still tied at 3
apiece. In the bottom of the 6th, Junior Jordan Stovall led off with a
smash down the 3rd base line for a single.  With one out Gillentine hit a
bouncer to second, but Stovall's courtesy runner was called out for
interference when she brushed Durham charging the bouncer.  In spite of the
Hillcrest coaches' protest (wanting the umpires to assume a double play was
eminent), Gillentine's standing on first was upheld.  It was Deja-Vu all
over again (reminiscent of the 3rd inning in Monday's Byrnes game) when
Ashley Bagwell crushed a two out double to the leftcenterfield fence and
the hustling Mav first baseman scored from first with a head-first slide at
the plate.  This clutch hitting performance would prove the difference in
the game.  Bagwell had pitched effectively with less than her best "stuff",
but turned this game with her bat !  Brooke Barnhill followed Bagwell with
an infield hit that moved courtesy runner, Ebony Edwards, to third.
Barnhill then stole second base to set up another opportunity for Mauldin
to add insurance runs, but a flyout meant that the Lady Mavs would have to
protect a slim one run lead in the 7th inning.
      Protect the lead they did ! Bagwell sandwiched a strikeout between
fly outs to Landers and Westmoreland to seal the precarious victory over
their rivals.  Mauldin had escaped a dangerous and inspired Hillcrest team
to notch their 6th Region win.  Pardon the cliche, but an ugly win is
better than a pretty loss !   The Lady Mavs were able to overcome too many
uncharacteristic defensive miscues in two strong offensive innings in which
they hit well with runners on base in pressure situations.   In another
trend reversal, the Lady Mavs left only 5 runners stranded on the basepaths
to Hillcrest's 9.  Mauldin's pitching Ace won her 12th game of the season
with her "B" game, striking out 8 Rams and allowing only one walk.  Credit
Bagwell and the Lady Mav softballers for their resilience, their unwavering
support for teammates through thick and thin, and their refusal to give up.
Good and cohesive teams find a way to win even in adverse circumstances and
that was certainly the case Thursday night.  The rematch at Hillcrest will
be next Friday night, but the Mauldin Varsity Softballers have a couple of
games to play between now and then to get re-fired on all cylinders - in
all phases of the game, as they have been most of the season...starting
with a visit to Boiling Springs tonight at 6:00 pm.