(2008 - 2009) - Softball

vs. Hillcrest High,

Date: May. 11, 2009
Time: 07:00 PM
Location: Mauldin High School

2009 Final Overall Record 22-5, Region Record 9-1
4-A Region 2 Champions
4-A District 2 Champions
Finished 2009 Regular Season Ranked #1 in the South Carolina
Finished in the top 8 in the 2009 SC Playoffs.
Finished 3rd out of 28 team in the 2009 AzaleaTournament, Highest finishing team from SC!

      On a cool Monday night forecasted for rain, the Lady Mav softball
Team hosted the Hillcrest Rams in a Upper state playoffs elimination game.
The rains never came but the fans did - on both sides of the grudge match,
rivalry and important game.  in the first two innings the game shaped up
like a pitchers duel as neither team managed more than one hit or advanced
a runner past first base.  The Mav's Ashley Bagwell struck out one Lady
Rams and her opposite, Courtney Roberts of Hillcrest, struck out two
Mauldin batters in the same two innings.  After two complete innings
Mauldin 0 - Hillcrest 0.
      In the top of the third, Taylor Dales-Clamp led off with a spinning
ball on near the first base line that two Mauldin fielders must have
thought would go foul...it didnt and the rams had a runner on with no outs.
A walk to the next batter and a sacrifice bunt by the next set up Hillcrest
with two in scoring position and one out.  Morgan Cox then poked a single
up the middle for an RBI hit and Morgan Durham crushed a double that drove
in two more Rams.  A fielders Choice out at third and a 6 to 3 groundout to
shortstop Dana Landers put a stop to the rally, but not before Hillcrest
had drawn first blood with 3 runs in its half of the third inning.  The
Mauldin Softballers responded in their half of the 3rd when Ashley Bagwell
led off with a single into right center.  Her courtesy runner, Weslyn Jones
was sacrificed over to second by a bunt off the bat of Senior captain Haley
Register.  With one out Senior Jena Westmoreland drilled a double into
left-centerfield that scored Jones and it was obvious that this game was
heating up.  Although Westmoreland would take third on a passed ball, the
next two Mauldin batters grounded out in the infield and left their
leftfielder 6 feet from paydirt.
      Seemingly energized, Bagwell dug in and retired Hillcrest in the 4th
, allowing a hit between a lineout to Second Baseman Bria Barnhill and a
flyout to older sister Brooke in rightfield.  Bagwell and Amelia Gillentine
teamed up to get the third out and bring the Lady Mavs back to the plate
with work to do in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Junior Catcher
Jordan Stovall walked for her team leading 15th time.  Her courtesy runner,
Jessica Lyles was thrown out at second several pitches later on a hit and
run that didnt get fully executed.  Brianna Davis took a walk to first with
two outs but was driven home by Amelia Gillentine with a screaming triple
down the rightfield line.  As Gillentine came to third base, the throw was
mishandled by the Hillcrest baseman and #6 would cross the plate with the
tying run !  A strikeout ended the rally, but "game on" after 4 complete
Mauldin 3 - Hillcrest 3.
      The 5th inning wasnt special for either team offensively but the
defenses continued to play well.  In the top, Hillcrest had a hit by Sylver
Samuel and a base on balls, but couldnt score as Bagwell struck out another
Ram, and Stovall and Brooke Barnhill caught flyballs to retire the side.
Mauldin's fifth was quieter still as two Lady Mavs struck out and another
grounded out to Roberts who was looking stronger and more confident in the
circle than she had in these two team's previous meetings.  In the top of
the 6th, Mauldin Ace, Ashley Bagwell got charged up by a great play from
her defense when, after the leadoff hitter (Roberts) smacked a ball past
Barnhill into the rightfield corner.  The elder Barnhill quickly retrieved
it as Roberts arrived at second.  Barnhill wheeled and made the long throw
to Landers in the grass, Landers spun and gunned to Register at third who
tagged the Rams pitcher in the shin before she reached the bag...great hit,
but not a triple...a loud out instead !  Bagwell pumped her arm and fist
and then proceeded to strike out the next two Hillcrest batters.
      In the bottom of the sixth,    Brooke Barnhill and Dana Landers
started the Lady Mavs out with successive hits.  After a flyout and a
sacrifice bunt the pair were both in scoring position.  What a good time
for this night's hot Mav hitter, Amelia Gillentine, to come to the plate !
Gillentine didnt keep her fans waiting long - she spanked the first pitch
into short rightfield to score Barnhill.  Thinking the Ram's senior
rightfielder  would throw home, coach Joseph Terry held Landers at
third...but instead the rightfielder was making a play on Gillentine at
first !  It was close, but after a collision and a dropped ball Gillentine
was ruled safe and was bruised and shaken up on the play....Senior Ebony
Edwards entered the game for Gillentine. Edwards and Landers were left on
the bases when the next batter grounded out to the Hillcrest pitcher, but
not before Mauldin had taken a 4 to 3 lead and left the Lady Rams with
three outs to score a tying run ...or be done !
      In the top of the seventh,  Dales-Clamp led off with a liner to
third, caught by Register for the first out.  Then slapping speedster
Sylver Samuel hit an arcing medium depth drive to centerfield over the
heads of the outfield which was drawn in to defend the slapper.  Junior
Morgan Cox then reached on a bunt when a throw wasnt made, insuring that
speedy Samuel would not take home on the throws.  Cox stole second
uncontested as Bagwell struck out the Rams second baseman who had hurt the
home team earlier with a big double.  Down to their last out with two in
scoring position and a base open, Bagwell, Stovall, and the Mauldin coaches
elected to pitch to the cleanup hitter, Hannah Swoap.  The senior was
hitless in this game up to this point, but has been a key power and RBI
source (along with Durham) for the Lady Rams all season and in the two
previous meetings.  With the count at 1 and 1, Swoap connected for a
bouncing single just right of the circle and second base that scored the
swift Samuel and Cox.  Bagwell struck out the next batter and the Lady Mavs
had a deficit to make up in their half of the 7th.  Mauldin 4 - Hillcrest
      After a strikeout, Mavs 3rd inning hero, Jena Westmoreland beat out
an infield hit with desire and a headfirst slide into fist base to
represent the tying run.  Junior Kenzi Corn then reached on an infield hit
and took second on a mishandled throw at first base.  Westmoreland took
third on the play....

      EDITORS NOTE:  The Author would really like to write a fairy tale
ending to this account here.  The fathers and the fans would much prefer
the alternative ending at this point also. Journalistic integrity prevents
the alternative ending however...and the facts are the facts !

      A strikeout and a groundout to third ended the Lady Mavs inning
without a score.  At that same moment of exhilaration for the Hillcrest
team, the outstanding 21-5  Lady Mavs Varsity Softball team's season was
over.  Tears flowed for the ladies in White, Brown and Orange as cheers
went up on Clayton field from a deserving Lady Rams team.  Hillcrest
entered the playoffs as an unranked, .500, but maybe also the state's
hottest team.  They have played their best softball of the season when it
counts most and lost only one game of their final 8.  Mauldin conversely
limped down the stretch losing 4 of their last 7.  Make no mistake however,
The Lady Mavs are an outstanding team and should be remembered that way.
Credit the Hillcrest team and their coaching staff for never giving up and
persevering for the victory on Monday evening - they are a very fine team
that will be a tough out and dangerous for any opponents to underestimate.
Mauldin on the other hand had the weight of expectations on their shoulders
all season. they had targets on their backs as the team ranked #1 in the
state for most of the season and undefeated throughout the pre-season and
12 games of the regular season.  Our Lady Mavs have given their fans reason
to cheer and be very proud all season long.  They have played well as a
team and stayed together through challenges of many varieties and from
multiple sources.  They outscored their aggregate opponents  143-31, outhit
and outpitched them by every measure by a more than 2 to 1 margin.  This is
and was an excellent season and Lady Maverick Softball team ! " Wait until
next year" we might say, but first lets credit again Seniors Haley Register
(who will represent Mauldin in the State All-Star Game at the end of this
month), Jena Westmoreland, Ebony Edwards, and Brittany Southard.  These
ladies will be missed and will be hard to replace.  Congratulations to
several of our as yet unnamed Lady Mavs who should and might have been
selected to the All-Region and All-state teams.  We and other coaches from
around the area and state recognize and appreciate the outstanding
individual performances of a handful of deserving Mauldin Softballers.  But
most of all we applaud and appreciate the entire and collective TEAM and
Coaches.  Thank you for all of the time and hard work you put into this
fine season.  You won the region, you won the district,  you won 20 games
and represented Mauldin High School with Class and talent.  We shouldnt ask
for more and couldnt be prouder of our TEAM !  Thank You Lady Mavs !