LADY MAVS SQUEAK OUT VICTORY

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LADY  MAVS  SQUEAK  OUT  VICTORY  IN  FINAL SCRIMMAGE  VS
CRESCENT

      The game wasnt as pretty as Clayton Field nor the afternoon that led
up to the Mauldin Varsity Softball Team's final pre-season contest before
the kickoff of the regular season campaign next week.  Coming off of a
thrilling and victorious Snowball Classic Tournament performance three days
ago, the Lady Mavs squared off against perennial 2A State championship
contender, the Crescent Tigers from Starr - Iva in Anderson County.
      A blemish appeared early when the visiting Lady Tigers leadoff batter
hit a grounder to third and reached base on a throwing error to first. An
attempt to pickoff the same runner a few pitches later was also muffed
although the runner didnt advance on the second miscue.  Crescent's second
batter got a Texas league basehit into short leftcenter to put runners at
first and second with no outs in the top of the first.  Senior co-captain
Jessica Lyles, sporting stitches in her upper lip as a souvenir of the
Snowball semi-final game, rescued the defense by gunning the lead runner
out at second base for a double play after charging hard and catching a
short fly ball in centerfield off the Easton of the third Tiger batter.
Mauldin starting pitcher Amanda Storch took care of the cleanup hitter by
herself with a 4 pitch "K".
      On offense the Lady Mavs looked uninspired and unimpressive against
the accurate but not overpowering Crescent pitching.  The only runner
Mauldin managed in the bottoms of the first two innings was freshman Dee
Dee Sullivan who walked with 2 outs in the 1st inning.  Storch and the
defense proved to be more ready and stalwart in the next few innings as
they played errorless defense and kept 12 of the next 13 batters from
reaching base.  Storch faced the minimum and showed them her maximum,
striking out 5 in the 4 inning stretch.  A lone runner in the top of the
3rd reached via walk with one out, but was erased an out later trying to
steal second when Mauldin's 8th grade catcher, Katelyn Wagers gunned to
Dana Landers covering the second sack and applying the tag for the 3rd out.
       Offensively in the bottom of the third, #17 determined to shine
again amidst an otherwise lackluster performance from her teammates, by
smacking a single between the first and second basemen with one out.  Lyles
was forced out on a fielders choice and watched from the dugout as the
third out made via strikeout of another teammate.  In the bottom of the 4th
more of the Lady Mav sticks began to awaken.  With one out, Sullivan
singled to right then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Wagers then
belted a long and high fly over the centerfielder's head to the fence for
an run-scoring double. An out later, with Nikki Smith in to run for the
Mauldin catcher, Freshman Amanda Storch helped herself with an RBI single
to right that plated Smith with the game's and home team's second run. At
the end of 4 complete Mauldin led 2-0
      The 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th at bats for the visiting team netted the
Crescent ladies in Gold nothing against Mauldin's freshman Ace.  Storch
struck out and walked another batter, but allowed no more hits to the
visiting Lady Tigers. Storch and the defense stiffened sufficiently to
prevent any runners from reaching third base in spite of another error on
the left side of the infield and a passed ball.  The A-Train would hurl
another shutout on this cool 1st evening of March, striking out 7, and
giving up only one hit and two base on balls.
      The Mauldin Softballers failed to add any insurance to their 2-0 lead
through the 5th 6th and 7th innings  in spite of additional basehits by
Lyles and Sullivan and walks issued to Brianna Davis and Emma Swearingen.
In all it was "good enough" but not a satisfactory performance by a very
fine team against a good one !  The Lady Mavs kick off their regular season
next week on Monday against Wade Hampton at home starting at 6:00 pm...then
on Tuesday and Friday of next week the young and restless defending State
4A champions start down what has been called "murderers row" out of respect
for the level of talent and intense competition that exists in 4A Region 2.
After Wade Hampton on Monday, the Lady Mavs will host state ranked Region 2
foes Boiling Springs (Tuesday 3/8), Byrnes (Friday 3/11), and JL  Mann
(Tuesday 3/15) at Clayton Field over an 8 day period. This stretch will go
a long way in setting the tone for the season and the playoff potential of
our young and talented Lady Mav Softball team.  They will need to play less
like they did on this Tuesday night and more like they did last Saturday
night to maintain control of their destiny and keep their goals in sight.
Go Mavs !                                                                03/01/11