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      On a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, the Lady Vikings of Spring
, Runner-up in Region 4 with a record of 18-9, travelled to Mauldin's
Clayton Field for a District 2 second round playoff game against the Region
2 and defending 4A State champion Lady Mavericks of Mauldin High.
      The game was scoreless and errorless through 5 complete innings as
Mauldin's Phenomenal Freshman Pitcher, Amanda Storch and Spring Valley's
accomplished Rachel Mellin dueled with nearly identical pitching lines
while both of their defenses played solidly.  Mellin struck out 1, walked
none, and yielded three hits through five innings including a leadoff
single to Mauldin Freshman Deanna Sullivan in the 3rd inning, and back to
back, 2 out singles to Sophomore Madison Tracey and Freshman Emma
Swearingen in the 4th inning.  In both cases, the Lady Mavs failed to
deliver the clutch hit that would bring their precious few runners home via
the all important 5 sided base guarded by an armored goalkeeper and a man
in blue.
      Mauldin's "A-Train" was equally impressive through 5 innings -
walking none, striking out 6, and giving up a two out single in the first
inning and a pair of singles to lead off the top of the 4th inning.  With
runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs, The Lady Vikes coach signaled for a
bunt and his catcher complied.  With one out and two runners in scoring
position, Spring Valley's leftfielder and 5th batter, hit a hard bouncer to
Brianna Davis at third base.  Davis alertly checked the runner and saw that
she was too far off to retreat back to third, so she threw to her armored
teammate, Kaitlyn Wagers, at the plate.  A rundown ensued in which Mauldin
eventually prevailed by getting the second out without allowing a run.
After Storch struck out the next Viking hitter, Mauldin came to bat in the
5th inning and were offensive - going down easily on three successive weak
ground balls in the infield.
      With the score still 0-0, the game sped into the fateful 6th inning.
Spring Valley was at the top of its lineup and got a runner aboard on a
high throw from third to first  A sacrifice bunt moved the unearned runner
to second and then a bloop hit by DH Morgan Barker (3 for 3 in the game)
into short centerfield scored the Lady Viking's auburn haired third
.  The next batter lined a shot to Brianna Davis who snatched it
instinctively and threw to first in time to double off Barker's
      Now down a run, Mauuldin's top of the order hit the ball hard, but
right to the Viking Shortstop for the first out, within a foot of going
over the centerfield fence for the second, and back to the pitcher for the
third.  Mauldin's infield took care of the Lady Vikes in the top of the
seventh, leaving Mauldin down to its final three outs in need of a run to
prolong their stay in the winners bracket of the playoffs.  Sophomore 1st
baseman Madison "Big Hit" Tracey led off with a towering blast to leftfield
that couldnt quite be handled as the Viking leftfielder struck the fence.
Emma Swearingen attempted to sacrifice bunt  Miss Tracey to third -
something she has excelled at all season - but this one floated in the air
above the first base line and struck Swearingen as she took off towards
first base...the umpire called her out and the ball dead, so Tracey had to
return to second base. A groundout to third pushed Tracey sixty feet
forward... or half the distance to her goal of scoring the game's tying
run.  Mauldin's next batter, Deanna Sullivan, battled through a nine pitch
before earning a base on balls, reaching first and representing the
game winning run if she could score..... but it was not to be... another
groundout to third base and the Mauldin Softballers found themselves in the
unfamiliar position of having lost on their home field and in the loser's
bracket of a district playoff bracket.
      Such as it is, the Lady Mavs will face the Woodmont  Wildcats ( who
defeated and eliminated the Gaffney Indians 4-1 in other action Saturday)
at Clayton field on Monday May 2nd at 6:00 pm in an elimination game.  The
losers' season will be finished and the winner will advance to play for the
District Championship against the Lady Vikings in Spring Valley but with
the stipulation that they must win twice against the green and white to
represent District 2 in the Upper State Championship tournament bracket.
The Mauldin Varsity Softballers defeated Woodmont last week, and the 2010
team faced a similar situation in the Upper State playoffs, losing to
Boiling Springs in the second round, then after defeating Hillcrest, they
pummelled the Bulldogs in successive games scoring 25 runs to Boiling
Springs 4 to advance to the state Championship.  the message here is that
the Lady Mavs can do this !  The offense wont stay in neutral as it was on
this afternoon.  Come and see the determination and production Monday
at Mauldin - Go Mavs !