(2009 - 2010) - Softball

vs. Hillcrest HS ,

Date: Apr. 23, 2010
Time: 06:30 PM
Location: Mauldin High School

Friday, April 23rd: MHS 2 - Hillcrest 4                                                                Sr.Night photos    game photos     news link

R   H  E

HHS   4   8   2
MHS  2   7   4
Pitching: A.Bagwell(16-2) 8k,0bb, 2er
Hitters: D.Landers 2-3,2b,HR;
J.Stovall 1-3,2b;A.Gillentine 2-3;
Bk.Barnhill 1-3,2b; A.Bagwell 1-3
RBI/RS: D.Landers 1rbi/1rs;
J.Stovall 1rs;A.Gillentine 1rbi

      On a beautiful Friday night, the Mauldin Softball Faithful came to
Clayton field early in anticipation of the Lady Mavs last regular season
home game against cross-town rival Hillcrest High and to honor the 7
graduating Seniors on the Mauldin Varsity Softball team.  They were treated
to a decisive win by Amanda Storch and the JV team over Hillcrest's
understudy team, and a nice recognition ceremony, complete with flowers,
gifts, an archway and photo opportunity.  The Greenville News and WYFF
Channel 4 were on hand to broadcast the game and festivities.  The
highlight of the opening was the reading of the 7 seniors heartfelt letters
of thanks to their parents, coaches, and teammates, witnessed by a capacity
crowd.  The special group of Seniors , who were recognized as instrumental
in the most successful 3 year run in the history of Mauldin High Softball,
were Jordan Stovall,  Kenzi Corn, Weslyn Jones, Ashley Bagwell, Amelia
Gillentine, Caroline Ford, and Brooke Barnhill.  Once the beautiful archway
and gate was cleared from the field, eyes were dried, and proper thanks
were given to the prime movers and preparers of the event - Ross and Deanna
Wagers, Lindy Landers, and the underclassmen softball parents, it was time
for the Main Event - The rivalry game...the final game of the Region 2
conference season ...Mauldin vs. Hillcrest.
      The mood was electric and emotionally charged. Mauldin, with 9 region
wins, entered the game unbeaten in Region play and already assured of the
Region championship (their 3rd in 3 years) and a top seed in the District
playoffs.  Hillcrest entered the game playing their best of the season, but
sporting a 5-4 region record and needing to win to avoid being a #4 seed in
the playoffs.  2009 All-State pitcher, Ashley Bagwell, toed the rubber for
the Lady Mavs, with 2009 All-Region performers with her at catcher,
shortstop, and centerfield.  She opened the game by getting dangerous and
fleet Sylver Samuel to ground out back to the mound.  Hillcrest senior, Mac
Cox, then grounded to short for the apparent second out, but a dropped ball
at first allowed Cox to stay on the unearned base.  Hillcrest first
baseman, Alyssa Willard then smacked a single to left and the Hillcrest
fans smelled a rally.  Opposing pitcher, Courtney Roberts grounded out to
first on an unnassisted play by senior Amelia Gillentine, allowing the two
runners to advance to third and second respectively.  Hillcrest's young
third baseman, Sarah Stewart, then drove a 2-1 pitch to the fence in left
for a double that scored both Cox and Willard.  Another groundout to the
mound ended the rally, but Hillcrest had drawn first blood and made a
decisive opening statement by taking a 2 run lead in the top of the first.
      Roberts pitched well for the lady Rams and retired Mauldin's first
two batters on groundouts to the left side of the infield.  Next, Junior
Shortstop Dana Landers stepped into the box and proved that she was neither
jittery nor overcome with emotion on this night when she belted the first
pitch over the centerfield fence with a missle-like trajectory to cut
Hillcrest's lead in half.  A flyout to short ended the 1st inning with the
score 1-2 in favor of the visitors.  The score would remain the same as
pitchers and batters dueled through three scoreless innings.  Bagwell
struck out 5 and scattered 2 hits, while her defensive mates added a pair
of errors in the same three Hillcrest half innings, but none of the lone
lady Ram baserunners in each of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings would cross
the plate.  In Mauldin's halves of the same innings, the hits were slightly
more plentiful and the threatened scores came closer to reality, but were
unrealized through baserunning blunders, missed calls, and failure to get
the big hits with runners in scoring position. in retrospect, the game was
lost or at least could have been won at this early juncture...but it was
not to be.  In the second, Mauldin went quietly except for an error at
short by the Rams on a hard hit "worm burner" , allowing Mav Senior
rightfielder Brooke Barnhill to reach 1st. The bottom of the third took a
hopeful turn with 2 outs when Brooke's younger sister, Sophomore Bria
Barnhill, reached first on a throwing error by the Ram's second baseman.
Landers followed with a double to right-center that might have scored
Barnhill were it not for a collision with the Hillcrest shortstop.
Interference was indicated by the umpires, but home plate was not be
awarded to the Mauldin runner since she did not make an attempt to advance
to home.  With two runners in scoring position and one of mauldin's most
feared hitters at the plate, a groundout to the same shortstop squelched an
opportunity.  The bottom of the fourth looked even more promising when
Gillentine singled  up the middle with one out and then Brooke Barnhill
doubled down the leftfield line.  Bagwell topped a ball that bounced high
in front of the plate for a hit since the Ram catcher had no play at
first...but she wheeled left and found Gillentine too far off third,
expecting to score on a throw to first.  Hillcrest's Mackey threw to third
and Gillentine, caught if she tried to return, broke for the plate.  The
shortstop threw head high to Roberts covering home.  The throw was ahead of
the charging Mauldin first baseman, but Gillentine slid well and under the
tag that was made on her shoulder.  In the expert opinion of the three
impartial Mauldin announcer, scorekeeper, and scoreboard operator - who all
had a close and front row view of the play, Gillentine was safe, but the
umpire called the second out.  Even after this close but missed call, the
Lady Mavs had 2 runners in scoring position and another capable hitter at
the plate, but failed to score as the batter took a called third strike
from Roberts for the third out.
      The top of the fifth saw the top of the Hillcrest order come up to
the plate for the third time.  It is difficult to keep the speed at the top
of the Hillcrest order from reaching base three times in a row, and it
wasnt to be for Bagwell this time against  the often effective slapper,
Samuel.  A swinging bunt hit put her on first.  Out of respect for the arm
of Mauldin catcher, Jordan Stovall, the Region's leading base-stealer was
sacrifice bunted to second by Cox .  Another error by the Mauldin infield
moved Samuel to third and put Willard on first.  Willard then stole second
uncontested before Bagwell struck out the ram cleanup hitter for the second
out.  Stewart then got her second hit of the game and third RBI with a
smack into leftfield that scored Samuel.  After a flyout to Landers the
Lady rams were retired, but had taken a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of
the 5th.
      Mauldin's response in the bottom of the 5th was anemic.  A groundout
to second, a strikeout, and a flyout to short sent them back onto the field
too quickly.  Defensively however, the top of the 6th was stout and
efficient.  Freshman Brianna Davis made a solidly routine and then an
outstanding play to get the two opening batters out at first.  Bagwell then
struck out a Hillcrest pinch hitter on three pitches to retire the side and
give the Lady Mavs their next to last shot at catching the party-crashers
from Hillcrest in the bottom of the 6th.
      Jordan Stovall led off with a double to leftcenterfield.  Quick and
spirited Junior, Jessica Lyles, came on to run for the Mauldin Senior
catcher but had to watch as a pop-up to second notched the first out.
Gillentine then punched her second single of the night into center to move
Lyles to third.  Brooke Barnhill knocked Lyles home on a fielder's choice
groundout that saw Gillentine erased at second base.  Then Bagwell hit a
shot into center that would have cleared the head of lesser talents and
speed in the outfield, but it was tracked down and caught near the fence by
Hillcrest's Sylver  Samuel for the third out. Mauldin had cut the lead to
one, but still trailed their arch-rivals 2-3 after six complete.
      The top of the 7th saw the top of the Hillcrest order in line to bat
once again.  Bagwell induced Samuel to pop-out to Barnhill at second for
the first out, but the previously hitless Ram rightfielder, Mac Cox, bunted
for a clear hit as she sprinted safely to 1st well ahead of the throw.  The
next batter, Willard, hit a 2-2 count screwball into foul territory in
leftfield.  Mauldin's  Weslyn Jones charged the fence and made a great
catch with half of her petite frame stretched over the barrier for the
second out.  Cox alertly tagged up at first and reached second base before
the throw to get into scoring position.  Hillcrest's Courtney Roberts then
delivered an RBI single into short left that plated the speedy Cox from
second.  Bagwell recorded her 7th strikeout of the game against the next
batter to end the inning, but not before Hillcrest had extended its lead to
2 again at 2-4.
      The last chance offensive production for the Lady Mavs was
disappointing - two flyouts and a groundout ...but these Mauldin varsity
Softball players are everything but disappointing ! The rivalry game
against Hillcrest was lost when there were several opportunities for the
outcome to have been different.  The 2010 Region undefeated streak was
ended, but in fairness and in the bigger scheme of things, this loss was
only a blemish on a stellar season !  These seniors and their Lady Mav
teammates have put together a tremendous season, they have captured their
third consecutive Region championship...and as the  #1 state ranked team
for most of the season and #1 seed in the State tournament, there are
bigger and better games and prizes in store for this talented team.  Of
course, as a pimple on prom night is disconcerting and its frantic
treatment painful, this loss hurts and seems more important than it truly
      The lady Mavs finish their regular season with a make-up game at Wren
High School on Monday evening at 6:00 pm.  Come support our STILL beloved
and tremendously talented Lady Mav Varsity Softball team next week at Wren
and in the first round of the district playoffs on Thursday evening the
29th at home in Mauldin against a fourth seed opponent from Region 1
rumored to be Greenwood or Hanna. Check back for the official schedule on Monday.
Last Friday was only a bump in the road...forget
it and stay true to the path you and your coaches are on.  All of your
goals are still in front of you and are there for the steadfast and
determined.  GO MAVS !!!