(2008 - 2009) - Softball

vs. Boiling Springs High,

Date: Apr. 17, 2009
Time: 06:00 PM
Location: Boiling Springs High School

 Friday, April 17th: MHS 4 -  Boiling Springs HS 2

          R  H  E
MHS   4  9  3
BSHS  2  5  4
Hitters:B.Davis 1-4;D.Landers 1-4;A.Gillentine 2-4,2b;
A.Bagwell 2-4;B.Barnhill 2-3;J.Westmoreland 1-3
Not every piece of art can be a Rembrandt, not every hit is a line
drive into the grass.  Neither is every win a textbook display of how the
game is played.  So it was on a balmy Friday evening in Boiling Springs,
when the Lady Mavs travelled to play the Lady Bulldogs in another Region 2
contest.  At times this game seemed a contest to see which team could make
the most of their opponents mistakes and at others a question of which
team's players would rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity to
change the nature of what was to be a close and suspenseful game.
      In the top of the opening inning Boiling Springs bit themselves
first. Junior Kenzi Corn slapped a grounder to short and reached first
safely when the throw pulled the Boiling Springs first baseman off the bag.
After a groundout that moved Corn to second, Mavs co-captain and shortstop
Dana Landers laid down a nice sacrifice bunt towards third base but the
Bulldog third baseman overthrew the bag allowing Corn to score the game's
first run and  landers to move to second.  During an at-bat that ended in a
strikeout, Landers stole third base. She scored minutes later when Senior
captain Haley Register  - (who celebrated signing a scholarship offer to
play softball at the next level for Catawba College in North Carolina
earlier in the day with her teammates and parents - CONGRATULATIONS  HALEY
!) -  hit a bouncer down the line to the struggling third sacker who again
overthrew to first. The Boiling Springs third baseman got it right on the
next batter with a good throw to complete the third to first putout and end
the inning, but not before Mauldin had taken a 2-0 lead without a hit.
      In the bottom of the first, Junior Mauldin pitching ace, Ashley
Bagwell, set to face the Lady Bulldogs'  batting order.  First up was
fellow member of the Carolina Elite summer travel team, Brittany Smith, who
drew a six pitch walk.  The second batter bounced a ball back to Bagwell
and she wheeled and threw to freshman Bria Barnhill in time to erase Smith
at second.  With a runner on first, the next batter laid down a sacrifice
bunt which Bagwell fielded and threw to Junior Amelia Gillentine to record
the second out. Next, Centerfielder Alaynie Page drove a hit into leftfield
to bring home Boiling Springs first run. Bagwell issued another free pass
to the Bulldog 5th batter to put runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, but
struck out the 6th to end the inning.  Mauldin 2 - Boiling Springs 1.
      For Mauldin in the top of the second  the hitting improved and the
charity from the homestanding Bulldogs decreased. Junior Brooke Barnhill
and Senior Jenna Westmoreland beat out back to back infield hits with one
out to put runners on 1st and 2nd. A fielders choice forced Barnhill out at
third but left runners in the same position with Corn again aboard at
first.  DP Brianna Davis then rapped a single up the middle to score
Westmoreland.  A rare strikeout by Landers ended the second inning scoring
for Mauldin.  In the Lady Bulldogs half of the second, Bagwell kept her "A"
game under wraps again by hitting the first batter with an inside screwball
and gave up a hit to the 8th batter before striking out the 9th.  With one
out and two on, it was time for someone to step up and make a big play.
That person was to be Sophomore Dana Landers who drop stepped and tracked
down a Texas-league bloop fly in short left then wheeled and threw hard to
the younger Barnhill to double off the runner at second base and end the
inning with the Lady Mavs in control 3-1.
      In the Mavs half of the third inning more damage might have been done
again when Junior Catcher Jordan Stovall led off with a walk, but the
courtesy runner was thrown out on a steal attempt of second without the
protection from the batter that was called for by Coach Joseph Terry.  With
one out another walk was issued by Bulldog pitcher Brittany Smith.  First
baseman Amelia Gillentine lined a hit into leftfield and Bagwell repeated
the feat but added an RBI when Register crossed the plate.  Bagwell's
courtesy runner, Senior Ebony Edwards, stole second base and moved to third
on another infield hit from Brooke Barnhill.   A liner to Short and a
grounder to second short circuited what could have been a bigger rally, but
despite some missed opportunities, the Lady Mavs seemed in control with a
4-1 lead after 2 and a half innings....but thats when things began to
rattle !  Boiling Springs leftfielder, Bailey Maybry hit a hard grounder to
the right side of Mauldin's infield that should have been played but wasnt,
allowing Maybry to reach and second base as the ball clicked through the
outfield grass.  Next, Landers fielded a grounder and set to throw to first
but caught Maybry too far off second and started a rundown with Bria
Barnhill to try and catch the lead runner.  As the rundown went towards
third base a ball transfer was made late and Maybry slid safely into 3rd.
Maybry would score when an errant throw to second went into the outfield.
Bagwell struck out the dangerous cleanup hitter, Page, but when the ball
was mishandled, the Bulldog centerfielder was able to reach 1st safely when
the throw to first wasnt risked with another runner on third.  At this
point, Bagwell and Landers stepped up to close the circus tent. The 2008
All-state pitcher pulled out some of the "A" stuff and struck out the next
batter for the first out.  Landers reacted quickly to get in front of and
catch a hard line drive headed left of center for the second, and Bagwell
struck out the next on 3 pitches to retire the side.  It could have been
worse, but the Lady Mavs only gave up one unearned run in the messy bottom
of the third and still maintained the lead 4-2 after 3 complete.
      Mauldin went down too quietly in the top of the fourth. With one out,
Landers drilled a hit through the 5-6 hole.  After a strikeout for the
second out, she stole second just in time to see another teammate become a
Smith strikeout victim a pitch later.  In the Mavs top of the fifth,
Gillentine led off with a smashing double to left-center.  Bagwell then hit
a line drive up the middle but a nice forward diving catch was made by the
Bulldog centerfielder Alaynie Page.  Although she bobbled the ball getting
back onto her feet, she gathered herself and the ball, and threw a strike
to the plate to nail a sliding Gillentine to complete an impressive double
play. (Upon review by Saturday Morning Quarterbacks, Gillentine probably
should have been held up at third, but the hustling and aggressive junior
has had a good week scoring on balls hit by Bagwell, this third time would
not yield another charm).  A lineout to the Bulldog shortstop ended the 5th
offensive  for the Mavs.  The Mauldin 6th similarly failed to produce runs.
An error put Westmoreland aboard but she was erased by a fielders choice.
Junior centerfielder Kenzi Corn stole second to get into scoring position
but was left on the basepaths as the next two outs were recorded by the
Bulldog infield.
      On the other side of the ball, the Lady Mavs had nowhere to go but up
after their third inning ... and they did exactly that !  Mauldin played
flawless defense through the balance of the game. Catcher Jordan Stovall
called a great final four innings of the game, encouraged and handled her
pitcher, and caught a pair of foul tips near the backstop. Bagwell started
hitting most of her spots, striking out 2 Lady Bulldogs in the bottom of
the 4th.  The lean and mean junior pitcher allowed a single in the bottom
of the 5th to Page but otherwise allowed her defense to do its job in the
5th and 6th.  Bria Barnhill, Haley Register and Dana Landers combined to
make a handful of fine plays and good throws to Gillentine for putouts and
Jenna Westmoreland chased down a deep fly to get the third out in the 6th.

      In the top of the final frame with the score still 4-2 in favor of
the visiting Lady Mavs,  Haley Register punched a one out hit into right
center.  After a strikeout she was erased on a force out play from third to
second to end the last chance for Mauldin to supplement its less than
comfortable lead.    In the bottom of the seventh, down two, Boiling
Springs would send up their #9 hitter and then the top of their order to
try and comeback against the Lady Mavs.  Register caught a pop-up from the
first batter, but leadoff hitter Brittany Smith whacked a double to the
right centerfield fence and got the Bulldog bench and stands aroused.  Mavs
first baseman Gillentine corralled a sharp grounder on the 1st base line
and stepped on the base for the second out as Smith moved to third.  The
next batter battled Bagwell to an 8 pitch walk.  Boiling Springs Alaynie
Page was not the hitter the Mavs faithful wanted to see at the plate at
this juncture, but indeed the centerfielder was up. On the fourth pitch she
hit a high fly to medium depth leftfield, easily handled by Westmoreland
for the final out to secure the win.
      Closer than it should have been, this win was nonetheless important
in the Region race.  It completed a 4 game sweep of region foes in one
week... prom week.  Maybe this week had distractions and homework, maybe
fatigue played a part, maybe there was a letdown after the thrilling and
excellent game against Byrnes Monday, maybe there was nervousness against
arch-rival Hillcrest Wednesday, maybe there are hormones and PMS at work,
... WHATEVER !!!  Good teams find ways to win even when they arent playing
their best and the Lady Mavs prevailed over 4 region opponents in a long
and crucial week successfully in the standings.  It is however time to get
used to the fact that the Mauldin Lady Mav Softballers have targets on
their backs and opponents have more to gain than lose when playing the
State's top ranked 4A team.  Next week is the home stretch - Spartanburg at
home on Monday, Byrnes at home for Senior night Tuesday, and then at
Hillcrest for the finale on Thursday.  Enjoy the prom this weekend (we are
sure they will all be home by midnight), then smear the makeup and roll up
the panties -  its time to finish what was started and what they have
worked long and hard for in big games next week.  Good Luck Lady Mavs -
We're confident in all of you and know you can reach your goals together
when you stay focused, play hard, play smart and BELIEVE.