(2010 - 2011) - Softball

vs. Byrnes High School,

Date: Mar. 11, 2011
Time: 06:00 PM
Location: Mauldin High School

BARNHILL,  LANDERS,  AND WAGERS  POWER  MAULDIN  OVER  BYRNES
4-1



      The Mauldin High Varsity Softball team hosted the Byrnes Lady Rebels
at Clayton Field Friday evening in another 4A Region 2 Showdown between 2
reams ranked in the State's 4A Top 10.  The Lady Mavs impressive Freshman,
Amanda Storch, toed the rubber for the home team and faced her opposite
pitcher - Byrnes top player and 2010 All Region selection, Cheyenne
Griffin, to start the game. Storch handcuffed griffin and got a groundout
to Short where Dana Landers fielded cleanly and threw accurately to Madison
Tracey at first for the lead out. Next up was Byrnes senior Slapper ,
Samantha Vaughn.  Kudos and Laurels go to coach Joseph Terry for practicing
and putting his team into an invert position to defend the slapper, because
on the third pitch, Vaughn poked a soft line drive into short center which
in most cases would fall for a single, but it went exactly where Jessica
Lyles was stationed for the easy catch and second out.  Storch struck out
the third batter and retired the Lady Rebels without a blemish in the top
of the first.
      With one out in the bottom of the first, Senior captain Dana landers
excited the good home crowd and her teammates with a triple into deep right
centerfield.  Landers was poised to break for home on the throw to first
when Deanna Sullivan hit to shortstop, but a defensive bobble upset the
timing of the play and the third base coach's laurels wilted as Landers got
caught in a rundown between third and home for the second out.  Sullivan
advanced to second during the rundown and eagerly anticipated scoring as
her teammate, Kaitlyn Wagers stepped to the plate. Wagers slugged a single
into leftfield and Sullivan chugged hard as if to score on the hit.
Sullivan put on the brakes as she was held up by her coach at third, but a
great heads up play was made by the Brynes pitcher (Griffin) to cut the
throw to home from left and fire to third in time to tag Sullivan diving
back to third base ended the inning and left the Mauldin fans feeling like
an opportunity had been missed.
      The narrow escape and good play seemed to motivate the Byrnes squad.
Although their first batter flew out to shortstop, their second doubled
into the right-centerfield gap.  Another runner reached base on a ground
ball to the left side of the infield as Mauldin tried unsuccessfully to
make a play on the advancing runner at third.  A courtesy runner for the
Byrnes catcher stole second base uncontested as Mauldin protected against
the runner scoring from third on the throw.  With two runners in scoring
position and only one out, Storch dug in her young (but big) heels and
raised the heat on the Byrnes 7th and 8th batters, striking out both of
them in succession to leave the Byrnes rally incomplete and the score 0-0.
      Freshman leftfielder Emma Swearingen led off Mauldin's second at bat
and reached base on the first pitch after it struck her in the left
ribcage.  A weak flyout later, Swaeringen was erased at second on a
fielders choice that left Madison Tracy on first with two outs.  She
reached second on what should have been another fielders choice, but in
this instance the flip from the Byrnes shortstop was dropped by the second
baseman
and Tracy stood safely on the second sack while Lyles stood at
first. Freshman Nadine Hernandez was brought in to run at second base and a
clutch hit was what was needed by the Mauldin team and fans. Junior second
baseman Bria Barnhill delivered in the form of an RBI double to right
center, scoring Hernandez with the games first run and igniting the crowd
and her team, but as the strong hit was retrieved from the fence and
relayed back into the infield, Mauldin aggressively tried to score Lyles
from first.  On a close tag play at the plate, Lyles was called out and the
second inning came to a close with Mauldin in the lead, not 2 or 3 to
nothing, but with a single run to show for their first circuit of the
lineup.
      The A-Train made it stand up against the Byrnes offense in the tops
of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings.  During the stretch she gave up only a
single hit and baserunner (Vaughn) in the third, while striking out 5, and
getting good defensive help from her infield (Davis, Landers, Barnhill, and
Tracey) behind her.  In Mauldin's half of the third however, the lady Mavs
proved discontent to let a precarious single run lead remain on the
scoreboard.  Again batting with one out, Dana Landers watched 4 straight
pitches cross the lefthanders batter box and trotted to first.  Deanna
Sullivan walked behind her as well, pushing Landers to second and bringing
a hot bat to the plate in the hands of Kaitlyn Wagers.  The 8th grade
Catcher stroked a single into leftfield but Landers was wisely held up at
third this time, loading the bases.  Although the boisterous teenage young
men on the Mauldin side called for a grand Slam, Emma Swearingen did her
job and drove in a second run for her team when she lifted a medium depth
sacrifice fly into rightfield that easily scored Landers and should have
advanced a tagging runner from second to third.  A free pass to Amanda
Storch on a Hit-by-pitch (what happened to her bubble?) moved the runners
and loaded the bases, but a groundout failed to generate any more damage on
the scoreboard, but Mauldin's lead had doubled to 2-0 after 3.
      The fourth frame for the Lady Mavs failed to produce another run, but
featured an impressive one out triple down the right-field line by Bria
Barnhill.  Unfortunately successive infield flyouts would not bring
Barnhill across the plate with a third run.  Mauldin's fifth inning at bat
saw a Wagers walk sandwiched between another pair of flyouts, before back
to back 2 out hits by Amanda Storch and Madison Tracey loaded the bases
...but alas, once again the lady Mavs failed to capitalize and stranded 3
more for a total of 9 runners Left on base through 5 innings, but the lead
and the game was still in their hands as the top of the  Byrnes order came
to bat in the top of the 6th.  From the vantage point of the Ladies and
fans in Red and Royal, they were being outhit, but not outscored by much
and this contest was far from over.  When Griffin led off with a double
down the third baseline, the visiting sideline became excitedly audible.  A
mishandling of a  grounder by Mauldin put the tying run at first base, then
a walk issued by Storch loaded the base with no outs and it sounded like
the momentum of the game had possibly shifted.  A hard liner to rightfield
gave the home fans a start, but it was caught by a hard charging Deanna
Sullivan from right and the Byrnes senior pitcher decided against trying to
tag and score on the strong armed rightfielder.  Another base on balls,
this time issued to the Byrnes leftfielder who had doubled in the first
inning, pushed Griffin across the plate with the Lady Rebels first run of
the game, cutting Mauldin's slim lead in half with only one out and bases
still loaded for the Byrnes softballers.
      The next at bat for Byrnes produced both loud cheers and quizzical
looks depending on which dugout you were cheering for.  The defensive
webgem of the game was turned in by Kaitlyn Wagers when (oddly) the Byrnes
lefty bunted less than two feet toward third from the plate. When it did
not appear that the squeeze play was on since the runner was still yards
from the Lady Mav catcher, Wagers smartly backed up, stepped on home plate,
wheeled and fired to first to complete a double play that extricated the
Lady Mavs from a sticky situation and the possibility of having their lead
in the game overtaken.  The cheers erupted from a relieved Mauldin fan base
on the third base dugout side of the field.  The knowledgeable Mauldin fans
knew they had escaped a tough spot and would have had to face some regret
at earlier offensive runs unscored in this important early Region contest.
      The best medicine for a tight ballgame tension headache is more runs
and the bottom of the 6th inning would see two of the Lady Mavs key run
producers come to the plate.  Bria Barnhill led off for Mauldin with a
sharp single into left, positioning the mighty mite to achieve one of the
rarest feats in baseball or softball - hitting for the cycle in a single
game !  It would not happen in this game, not because Barnhill (who doubled
in the 2nd, tripled in the 4th, and now singled in the 6th) cant hit a
homerun, but because she would not get the requisite 4th at-bat in which to
do so.  When the popular Junior was forced out at second during the next at
bat, her clutch run scoring prowess passed to Brianna Davis who now
occupied first base with 4 time All-Region performer Dana Landers at the
plate. Still being pitched outside, Landers found one she could reach and
drove a missle down the first base line and into the rightfield corner.
Davis came all the way from 1st to score on the triple as Landers braked
standing up before a happy coach at third base.  Deanna Sullivan drove a
single to the right side that scored Landers and the Lady Mavs had a bit
more comfortable lead at 4-1.  Kaitlyn Wagers made her first out in two
games of Region play on a hard hit line drive that was caught by the Byrnes
leftfielder. When the third out was made on a routine groundout to second,
the teams traded places and the Lady rebels picked up their bats for their
last chance unless they could post three more runs against Storch and her
Lady Mav teammates....Not happening !  Storch induced a pair of grounders
that Landers scooped and threw to first for a pair of quick 6 to 3 outs.
Storch struck out the next batter to record her 9th of the game, but more
importantly the game ender.  Mauldin emerged from a fine but flawed
performance against a good Byrnes team with an important victory.
Congratulations Lady Mavs !