(2008 - 2009) - Softball

vs. Wren High-4-A Upper State Game 1,

Date: May. 09, 2009
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Wren High School

Game 1 Sat. May 9: MHS 0 - Wren 1
        R  H  E
MHS  0  1  0
WHS  1  4  0
Hitters:B.Barnhill 1-3
MAVS  1-0

      On a beautiful Saturday morning, the Mauldin Varsity Softball team
travelled to Wren to play the defending 4A State Champions in the first
round of the Upper State playoff bracket.  This day would prove a glorious
day to be a pitcher - with the wind blowing steadily in from the outfield
and two 2008 All-state pitchers squaring off for the third time in 2009,
having split the two previous meetings - each won by the home team by one
      Stephanie Saylors toed the rubber for the lady hurricanes first and
retired the Mauldin batting order, in order, for three straight innings of
perfect pitching, striking out 5 Lady Mavs in the process.  Mauldin Ace,
Ashley Bagwell's start was less auspicious, but no less effective as she
struck out 3 ladies in blue and gold and allowed no runs and only one hit
and one walk through the same three innings.  The Mauldin defense was solid
behind Bagwell, just as Wren's played flawlessly behind Saylors.  For
suspense and for purists, this was a great game - for offensive excitement
it was lacking.  Credit the outstanding efforts of both pitchers and
defenses for that !
      In the top of the fourth inning with one out, Brooke Barnhill showed
that speed never goes into a slump with a swinging, spinning bunt. She beat
the attempt at first by a step for Mauldin's first hit and baserunner of
the game.  This might be the rally starter that the Lady Mavs needed with
Landers and Stovall - the two leading RBI producers for Mauldin due up
next.  Coach Joseph Terry put the fleet Barnhill in motion with a hit and
run...Landers connected and directed the ball to the right side...
unfortunately the line drive went right to the first baseman, Morgan
Allison who made the catch and took one step to first to record the double
play and end the Mav's rally before it got started.  In Wren's half of the
fourth, dangerous Chelsea Hawkins lined hard to Dana Landers at short for
the first out. Hurricane 1st baseman, Allison was next and hit a bloop
single into right field.  Bagwell pitched carefully to 2008 "Mav-Killer"
Marilyn Newman and walked the rightfielder on 5 pitches.  Next, a sacrifice
bunt by Chelsea Deneroy moved Allison and Newman to third and second.  With
two outs it was in the hands of #7 hitter, Miranda Wilson.   Wilson hit a
rope on the first pitch 3 feet inside the first base-line at 7.5 to 8 foot
high. Mauldin's Amelia Gillentine leaped and reached and tipped the
screamer on its way to rightfield.  Allison scored on the hit and Newman
would try as well, but Mauldin right-fielder, Brooke Barnhill collected the
ball and fired a strike to fellow Junior catcher Jordan Stovall at the
plate to nail Newman for the third out still 2-3 steps from home.  it was a
great outfield play to prevent a second run, but Wren had drawn first blood
and scored the first precious run in this pitcher's duel to take a 1-0
lead after 4 complete.
      In the top of the 5th, Jordan Stovall led off with a base-on balls
and was replaced on the bases by Junior Weslyn Jones. The next batter
grounded to Wilson at second.  wilson fielded the ball, tagged Jones as she
ran by and threw quickly enough to retire the batter/runner for a second
double play in as many innings.  With two outs, Gillentine drew a walk, but
the side was retired a batter later on a bouncer back to Saylors on the
mound and a routine throw to first.  Bagwell was back into form in the
bottom of the fifth, striking out the first batter and inducing a groundout
to Bria Barnhill at second base and a flyout to Kenzi Corn in centerfield.
Quickly the Lady Mavs were back on offense...but quickly they were retired
in the 6th and back on defense.  Saylors sandwiched a strikeout around two
infield outs, and the Lady Mavs were down to their last three outs unless
they could score a run or more in the top of the 7th. In Wren's bottom of
the sixth, The Lady Hurricanes' centerfielder, Hawkins made some noise with
a one out double to the left centerfield fence, but she was retired a
batter later on a double play turned in when Bagwell fielded and threw to
Gillentine for the second out, and Gillentine threw to Senior captain Haley
Register  to try and get the aggressive Hawkins advancing to third.
Hawkins beat the throw but lost contact with the base on the overslide.
Alertly, the experienced Register kept the tag applied so that the home
plate umpire could see what the base umpire had missed and call the runner
out correctly upon appeal.  A bullet was possibly dodged and the deficit
only a single run for the Lady Mavs in the top of the seventh.
Unfortunately, Saylors was still strong and got a quick groundout top short
and her 8th strikeout of the game before facing Mauldin's Home run queen,
Jordan Stovall with two outs ...and knowledge that her summer teammate
could tie the game with one powerful swing.  The first pitch was taken for
a strike, then Saylors went too far outside for a ball.  The 1 - 1 pitch
was a riseball on the inside half of the plate and Stovall turned on it and
did not miss...by much !  The result was a hard hit  towering flyout to
left.  If hit a half inch higher up the ball, the game would have
continued, but this was Wren's day in the sun...follwed by a night at their
prom.  It would have been fun to spoil their day, but hats must go off to
Saylors and the Wren team for a n extremely well pitched and played game.
Saylors limited the Lady Mavs to season lows -  a single hit, only one
runner LOB, and only three baserunners in 7 innings...two of which were
erased on double plays !  Wren's defense (and Mauldin's too) was stout  and
their bats produced when they had to.  Mauldin Pitcher Ashley Bagwell
tossed a very fine game as well - 4 hits, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks, and only
one run allowed - should be good enough to win, but it was the Lady Mav
offense that failed to produce in this loss.
      The coaches and players had to know that the competition would be
better in this upper State Tournament bracket - IT IS ... and now the road
just got a little longer and steeper, but it can absolutely be successfully
travelled by the very talented Lady Mav softballers. Next up is the
Hillcrest Lady Rams who will visit Clayton field in Mauldin for an
elimination game Monday evening following their loss to Gaffney Friday
night.  The winner of Mauldin/Hillcrest will face the loser of Wren/Gaffney
(also Monday evening) on Wednesday May 13th in another elimination game.
Come out and support the Lady Mavs at home against their arch-rivals Monday
evening starting at 6:45 pm (first pitch at 7:00 pm).  We still believe !
Go Lady Mavs !!!