(2008 - 2009) - Softball

vs. vs. Wren High,

Date: Apr. 27, 2009
Time: 06:00 PM
Location: Wren High School

Monday, April 27th: MHS 1 - Wren HS 2
         R  H  E
MHS  1  6  3
WHS  2  2  1
LP:A.Bagwell(14-3)10k's,2 hits,1bb,0ER
Hitters:D.Landers 2-3,HR;J.Stovall 1-3,2b;
A.Gillentine 1-3;A.Bagwell 1-3;J.Westmoreland 1-3

      Good games between quality teams with strong pitching usually turn on
one play, one hit, one error, or one walk.  In such games it is most often
the team that maintains its composure, focus, and concentration best that
comes out on top, with help from a player or two who deliver when their
team needs it most !  Such was the case Monday night just South of
Powdersville, where the Lady Mav Varsity Softball team travelled to play
its regular season finale against the 4A 2008 State champion and 2009 #3
ranked Golden Hurricanes of Wren High School. 4A State Player of the year,
Stephanie Saylors, was on the hill for the Lady Canes while fellow
all-state pitcher, Ashley Bagwell, toed the rubber for the Lady Mavs
exactly 4 weeks since Mauldin prevailed 3-2 in a "Clash of Titans" on
Clayton field.
      Wren's powerful Senior pitcher struck out the first two Lady Mavs in
the top of the 1st before yielding a single to Sophomore Co-Captain Dana
Landers with two outs.  A high fly to centerfield ended the inning for
Mauldin without a score.  Mauldin's crafty veteran pitcher, Ashley Bagwell,
matched Saylors with two quick strikeouts against the top of the Wren
lineup, but didnt give up the hit - moving right to the flyout, caught by
Junior centerfielder Kenzi Corn for the 3rd out.
       In Mauldin's half of the second inning it looked like the Lady Mavs
might be gaining confidence at the plate against Wren's big blonde.  After
a groundout to short, Junior first baseman Amelia Gillentine laced a nice
line drive hit into right centerfield.  Inexplicably trying to stretch the
hit into a double, she was easily caught in a rundown and tagged out trying
to get back to 1st base.  Next up, Ashley Bagwell bounced a single over the
Wren third baseman.  Her pinch-runner, Junior Weslyn Jones, when the third
out was recorded on a bounceout to the mound, thrown to first to retire the
side.   In the bottom of the second, Wren's Morgan Allison grounded out to
Dana Landers at short and then Marilyn "Mav-Killer" Newman lined out to
Landers  for the second out.  After a hit by Wren's Chelsea Denaroy,
Bagwell struck out the 7th batter to end the inning.  After 2 complete,
Mauldin 0 - Wren 0.
      In what was beginning to look like a pitcher's duel, Mauldin was
making the most noise though neither team had put a runner into scoring
position yet in a flawlessly played game through 2 innings....but that is
when things began to change.  After a groundout to third base, Kenzi Corn
slashed a ball to the same third baseman who this time misplayed the ball
allowing Corn to reach base on the game's first blemish.  Brianna Davis
sacrificed Corn to second with a textbook bunt, but Landers didnt deliver
the run scoring hit with two outs, grounding out on a sharply hit ball to
second base instead.  In Wren's bottom half of the third frame, Bagwell
allowed a rare and inopportune base on balls to the Hurricane's 8th hitter.
Not surprisingly, Wren's 9th hitter laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her
runner, but all were surprised when the throw from Senior captain, Haley
Register was dropped at first.  The walk and error could be costly if one
player at the top of the Wren order could deliver a big hit.  Bagwell dug
in  and struck out the leadoff hitter for the second time and the first
out.  Next, the Wren coach called for another sacrifice to move her runners
to third and second and put the pressure squarely on her senior
centerfielder, Chelsea Hawkins.  The bunt was executed nicely by Karlie
Whitt so with two outs and two in scoring position, Hawkins entered the
batters box.  The centerfielder wouldnt chase the first pitch riseball
high, but she cranked the second pitch back up the middle on a 10 foot
plane into centerfield that scored both of the Wren runners.  Bagwell
struck out the cleanup hitter to prevent further damage, but not before
Wren had assumed a 2-0 lead in a game where runs would be precious few and
hard to come by.
      Junior catcher Jordan Stovall answered the call of her team and fans
to rally back with a leadoff double into right-centerfield to start the 4th
inning.  Unfortunately, a pop-up to third, a groundout to short, and a
short fly to left failed to advance Stovall's courtesy runner, Jessica
Lyles past third base.  The Lady Mavs were not about to give up and werent
hanging their heads as the game went into the bottom of the fourth.
Bagwell struck out the first two Wren batters in succession on 8 pitches.
An error on the right side of the infield put a runner on first, but this
time it would matter little since Bagwell struck out the next batter -  her
third of the inning.  Bagwell was similarly effective in the Wren 5th and
6th.  She would not yield another hit, run, nor walk.   With putout and
assist help from defenders Stovall, Register, Landers, Corn, and Gillentine
...Bagwell struck out 2 more and thwarted any other offensive threats Wren
may have envisioned in their last two at bats. The defending state champs
would have to prevent the #1 ranked Mauldin offense from scoring 2 to hold
onto this tightly contested game.
      Jena Westmoreland  spanked a single back up the middle with one out
in the 5th and stole second base to give the Mauldin faithful a reason to
cheer and hope for a rally, but she was left on second when the next two
batters produced a groundout and flyout.  In the top of the 6th, Dana
Landers led off  and crushed the first pitch, delivering a laserlike solo
homerun over the left-centerfield fence to cut the deficit to 1 run with no
outs.  Two strikeouts and a pop-out to second followed and the Lady Mavs
would be down to their last three outs and a need to score one to extend
the game.  It was not to be as Saylors struck out two more Lady Mavs in the
top of the 7th and induced a routine groundout to third to seal the game
for the home team and set off a loud celebration from the fans and players
in Royal and Gold.
      As turnabout is fair-play,  the Lady Mavs won one April 16th they
deserved to lose ...and Monday evening lost one they should have won.
Mauldin Pitching Ace, Ashley Bagwell, pitched well enough to win with 10 strikeouts versus one walk, and yielding only 2 hits over 6 innings to the
defending State Champion Wren Golden Hurricanes.  The Lady Mavs tallied 6
hits against Saylors who walked none and struckout 7.  The game turned on a
walk, an error, and a clutch hit by Wren's Chelsea Hawkins.  The lady Mavs
had their chances to even up or run up the score - they left runners on
base 6 of 7 innings and five different Mavs had at-bats with a runner in
scoring position and failed to deliver.  WHS meanwhile, left only 4 runners
on base and scored the only two that reached scoring position on the
evening.  The bottom line is that this was a stinging loss that shouldnt
have occurred. Like Friday's loss to Hillcrest, Its significance in the big
picture is minor. To be sure, the wins meant a lot psychologically to the
winning teams, but the real important games start this Thursday evening as
the playoffs open for Mauldin on Clayton field against the Westside rams of
Region 1 in Anderson. The Lady Mavs have had an excellent regular season,
winning 18 games, outscoring their opponents 112 to 24, and more than
doubling their aggregated opponents batting averages, slugging percentage,
on-base-percentages, steals, and strike-outs. But it is the time of year
that statistics dont matter, rankings dont matter, records dont matter, and
seedings simply determine who will be the home team - ITS PLAYOFF TIME !
Its time to bring your best to the field and show the opponent who has the
most  game - confidence, concentration, composure, and pride.  Go Mavs !