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      On a gorgeous Friday afternoon the Mauldin Varsity Softball team
travelled South to Starr-Iva for the start of the Crescent Lady Tiger
Invitational Softball tournament.  Their first opponent in Pool play would
be the host team - the perennial 2A state title contenders and winners of a
score of Championships since the late 1970s as attested to by the
impressive row of signs lining the outfield fence of Crescent's varsity
field.  On the line was a leg up for a berth and seeding in the semifinals,
which would commence Saturday evening. There were however two more poignant
reasons for the Lady Mavs to play well in this game - first, to atone for a
substandard hitting and poor baserunning performance against Crescent in a
pre-season contest in Mauldin, won by the Lady Mavs 2-0.  The second
motivation was for their beloved coach Joseph Terry.  After Thursday
's win over Riverside, Coach Terry's win total as a High School head
softball coach stood at 99.  The lady Mavs had the opportunity to help and
celebrate their coach's 100th win if they could take care of the business
on the field.
      After a scoreless 1st inning, Mauldin posted 6 runs in the top of the
second - thanks to hits by Emma Swearingen, Brianna Davis, Dana Landers, &
Kaitlyn Wagers, walks to Amanda Storch & Deanna Sullivan, and 3 errors by
the Lady Tiger defense.  In the bottom halves of the innings, Amanda
"A-Train" Storch was moving through the Tiger offense with great efficiency
and decisiveness.  In 5 shutout defensive innings, Storch struck out 6,
walked none, and scattered 3 hits over separate innings.  The defense was
also stellar, recording 8 flawless infield putouts and one by outfielder
Emma Swearingen. The game's only error for the Lady Mavs was a dropped
third strike in the second inning, but it was shadowed by an excellent
throw from Maverick catcher Wagers to third baseman Davis for a pickoff
tagout on the same play that the batter was allowed to take first base.
      The Mauldin Softballers added 4 more runs in the top of the 4th on
hits by Bria Barnhill, Davis, Sullivan, Swearingen, Madison Tracey, and
Wagers (double). Three more were piled on in the 5th via the bats and legs
of Barnhill, Landers, Storch, and a sacrifice fly from Swearingen.  With
the score 13-0, Storch and the Lady Mavs held the Crescent team runnerless
and scoreless in the bottom of the 5th as the right-side defensive duo of
Barnhill and Tracey combined for all three 5th inning outs, and handed
Coach Terry his 100th Win !
      Congratulations to Mauldin's head softball coach, Joseph Terry !
The hard working coach and educator has amassed the hundred win versus 25
loss record in only 4 1/2 seasons, including a 65-8 record at Mauldin
(which includes two region titles and a State Championship).  Before coming
to Mauldin, Terry was a winning head coach at Seneca with a 35-17 record in
2 seasons.  The team and assistant coaches Brian Thompson and Michelle
celebrated after the game with a huge Softball shaped and decorated
Chocolate Chip cookie and pictures to mark the event before climbing back
aboard the bus for a long ride back to Mauldin for an early night, as the
Lady Mavs would be getting on it again at 6:45 am Saturday morning to be
delivered to Crescent for their second pool game and 5th road game of the
      Under cloudy skies and with a dismal weather forecast for the day,
the Lady Mavs put on their helmets and prepared to do battle with the
Wolverines of Woodruff high in the  second pool game at 9:00 am Saturday
.  The Visitors in white and orange again failed to score in the top
of the first, managing a lonely single from Senior captain Dana Landers.
Freshman pitcher and outfielder Nadine Hernandez toed the rubber for the
Lady Mavs and sat the Woodruff batting order down in order in each of the
first three defensive innings, striking out 1 and watching her defense do
excellent work behind her, including fine outfield catches by Emma
Swearingen and Deanna Sullivan, and a diving stop and unassisted putout by
Madison Tracey at first base in the bottom of the second.  The top of the
second saw the Lady Mavs wake up and score 3 runs on a hit by Swearingen,
an RBI double by Hernandez, a walk to Jessica Lyles, and a hit by Bria
Barnhill.  Mauldin got hits from Kaitlyn Wagers  and Swearingen (who was a
perfect 4 for 4 in this game) in the top of the third, but couldnt push
across any runs in the third frame, nor the hitless fourth.
      The Woodruff team decided not to be cowed by the undefeated and top
ranked 4A team from Mauldin in the bottom of the 4th.  Two singles, a
double, and an error on a pickoff attempt resulted in 2 runs for the
Wolverines, and the Lady Mavs found themselves in a game with the
surprisingly offensive 2A team from Woodruff.  In response, Mauldin Senior
captain Dana Landers
cranked a one out solo homerun in the top of the 5th
inning.  Nenche Songalia , running for Deanna Sullivan who took a foul ball
off her foot during her at-bat) crossed the plate after a double by Wagers
on a single by Swearingen.
      In spite of a leadoff double, a walk and two more basehits from
Woodruff, the Lady Mavs limited the damage to a single run thanks to a
double play and a diving stop provided by the Senior Shortstop, Landers.
Senior Jessica Lyles scored a Mav run in the top of the 6th, when after a
hit to centerfield and a stolen base, she was moved to third on a basehit
from Brianna Davis and driven home on a single by Landers.  Hernandez and
the Mauldin defense blanked three hitters from Woodruff in the bottom of
the 6th and the score read Mauldin 6 and Woodruff 3.
      Perhaps sensing this was not as convincing a lead as it should be,
the Lady Mavs unleashed a barrage in the top of the 7th against the upstart
Woodruff squad. 6 hits (Wagers, Swearingen, Hernandez, Barnhill, Davis
{double}, and Sullivan), plus a walk to Landers and a sacrifice fly by
Lyles, resulted in 5 more runs for Mauldin.  A game and competitive
Wolverine team clawed another run away from the stingy Mauldin defense via
a pair of doubles, becoming the team to score the most runs against Mauldin
in the first half of the 2011 campaign, before Hernandez, Tracey, and
Swearingen recorded the outs that ended the game in favor of the Lady Mavs
11 to 4.
      As the Lady Mavs savored another victory with a hamburger from the
concession stand, the rains came.  For the next hour the fields saw neither
torrents nor any sign of abatement and the balance of the tournament was
understandably cancelled.  Sad that they would not have the opportunity to
claim another tournament championship, nor to play teams from Greenwood and
Walhalla that they have not faced before,  The Lady Mavs could be thankful
on the busride back to Mauldin that they would have a chance to nap,rest,
and catch up on homework after a long and successful "roadtrip"  week of 5
wins away from Mauldin's Clayton field.
      At the halfway point in the season (in terms of number of games
played) the 2011 Mauldin Varsity softball team finds itself 14 and 0,
ranked #1 in the state,  having scored 135 runs to their opponents 16, and
with statistical accomplishments backing up and helping explain the
aforementioned success...

            TEAM BATTING AVERAGE =        .415
            TEAM ON BASE PERCENTAGE =      .529
            TEAM SLUGGING PERCENTAGE =    .562
            TEAM FIELDING PERCENTAGE =    .957

...BUT... they will also find targets on their backs and a host of region
opponents lined up to knock them off of their impressive yet meaningless
mid-season perch.  The Lady Mavs return to Mauldin's Clayton Field (and the
Region 2 crosshairs) on Tuesday at 7:00 pm after the JV game, when their
Arch-Rival, the Hillcrest Lady Rams bring their A game West on Hwy 417 to
Mauldin.  Eight of the next 9 games are against Region opponents and will
truly both define and decide the postseason fate of the Lady Mavs 2011
season.  Of course it is best to be in the driver's seat and in control of
their own destiny, but Coach Terry and his maturing team, will have to
continue to play like they have been against a tough succession of hungry
opponents to claim a 4th successive Region championship.  There are both
opponents who will gladly help and opportunity for the Lady Mavs to fall
from Region leadership and top playoff seeding. There has been every
evidence and reason for confidence and optimism as this year's Lady
Maverick Softball team has hit, scored, & pitched well, played great
defense, stayed together, and met every challenge they have faced in 2011.
Keep up the hard and super work ladies !  We are proud of you and believe
in you. Take NOTHING for granted, but know you have what it takes !  Go
Mavs !