MHS 2 BSHS 3

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            8th  INNING  HOMER  SINKS  LADY  MAVS  INTO  ELIMINATION
BRACKET  OF  UPPER  STATE  TOURNEY,  3-2

      2 outs, bottom of the 8th, bases empty, Boiling Springs best hitter -
2010 All-State outfielder Alaynie Page (who had earlier doubled) at the
plate...With one pitch and swing, the 2-2 tie was broken and the game over
in favor of the Lady Bulldogs after the solo homerun.  It was a bitter pill
to swallow, and probably could have been avoided...but having said that,
averting a walk-off homer in the 8th is not the same as winning....and the
Lady Mavs had opportunities to change the complexion of the game that they
failed to capitalize on long before the bottom of the 8th.
      In the first three offensive innings for the visiting Mauldin
Softballers, 5 runners were left on base without any scores by the ladies
in Orange and brown.  In the top of the first, Brianna Davis was hit by a
pitch and advance on a sacrifice bunt by Freshman Emma Swearingen.  A
grounder to short that should have resulted in Landers being the second out
at first, instead saw a baserunning error eliminate the Mauldin lead runner
between second and third.  Last Wednesday's hero, Deanna Sullivan singled
to left, but instead of the score being 1-0, the Lady Mavs had runners on
first and second with two outs.  A flyout to left ended the "almost rally".
In the top of the second Amanda Storch's hard grounder to second was
bobbled by the Boiling Springs infielder, allowing her safe passage to
first.  Courtesy runner Nadine Hernandez was advanced to second on a nice
sacrifice bunt by Madison Tracey, but a strikeout and popup to first failed
to move Hernandez any closer to a score than halfway.  In the third,
Sophomore third baseman Brianna Davis led off with a sharply hit linedrive
into leftfield.  A sacrifice bunt attempt resulted in a dead ball out and
forced Davis to return to first -  the ruling was that the batter/runner
made contact with the batted ball.  Senior captain, Dana Landers was
intentionally walked to put two runners aboard, but the next batter hit
back to the pitcher resulting in a fielder's choice that eliminated the
lead runner at third on a forceout.  Bases became loaded with two outs when
a grounder to short was dropped at second when tossed to the bag for what
should have been an easy forceout to end the rally.  The rally did end on a
popout to third in foul territory near the Boiling Springs dugout.
      Freshman Ace pitcher Amanda Storch, catcher Kaitlyn Wagers, and the
Mauldin defense did a good job of holding the confident Lady Bulldogs at
bay through the same three innings.  Without a strikeout through 11
batters, Storch and Wagers induced 5 flyouts and 4 groundouts, while only
giving up a one out single in the first and a two out single in the third.
Neither Bulldog baserunners reached second base.  After three complete, the
scoreboard still read 0-0 - with 2 hits per team.  The Lady Mavs had played
errorless defense to that point, but did not capitalized on the fact that
the Boiling Springs had not.
      Mauldin broke through and drew first blood in the top of the fourth.
Junior second baseman, Bria Barnhill led off with a base on balls.  Senior
centerfielder, Jessica Lyles bunted to move Barnhill to second and not only
succeeded in that endeavor but reached first safely with the low throw from
the Bulldog pitcher got past the Boiling Springs first baseman.  Barnhill
scampered quickly to third.  With runners on the corners, Davis lifted a
high fly ball to medium depth centerfield.  Barnhill tagged up and broke
for the plate on the catch.  An excellent throw was made by Lady Bulldog
star Alaynie Page, but the quick Mauldin second baseman got her foot on the
plate just ahead of the tag to score Mauldin's and the games first run. A
flyout to short prevented further scoring and sent the resurgent Lady Mavs
back on defense.
      Boiling Springs answered in the bottom of the 4th with a hard hit
ball to second that was mishandled and allowed Page to reach safely.  A
base on balls put a second baserunner on.  Storch stiffenned and got a
strikeout for the first out.  A double steal was successful when a fine
throw to third was dropped as a tag was applied to the sliding  thief.  A
grounder to first base resulted in an unnassisted out but allowed the tying
run to score.  A double to deep left by Webber Roberts knocked in a second
run for the home team and a flyout to Landers terminated the rally, but the
Lady mavs now went to bat in the 5th down by a run, 2-1.
      Dana Landers led off and tied the score with a line drive blast over
the centerfield fence just right of the American Flag.  She was met at the
plate by an excited team and the loud approval of the many Mauldin fans
that made the 1/2 hour trip up I-85 and West on SR-9.  The jubilation
failed to ignite any further offense for mauldin in the 5th however, as
three straight outs were made in unimpressive fashion.  In the bottom of
the 5th, Storch struck out a batter to start things off, then gave up an
easy flyout behind second base.  A walk was next, followed by a double off
the bat of Page and the Lady Bulldogs were threatening again.  Coach Joseph
Terry called an excellent pickoff play and it worked to perfection.  The
only complication was the runner on third.  When Wagers threw down to Lyles
covering second, Page was caught a dozen feet off the bag.  Lyles started
in her direction when the runner from third broke for home.  Lyles alertly
switched gears and threw back to Wagers who hunkered down, blocked the
plate, and applied the tag that prevented a score and ended the inning for
the home squad in black and red.
      Neither team managed a score in the 6th or 7th innings.  Mauldin went
down easily and successively in the 6th and had only a two out  Dana
Landers single and stolen base to cheer about in the 7th.  Similarly
Boiling Springs had only one hit  in the pair of frames. A leadoff single
to left in the 6th by Katie Jacoby.  Jacoby came up limping at first base
and was replaced by a pinch runner.  The reserve was advanced to second on
a sacrifice bunt.  Next, a great play was turned in by a trio of Lady Mavs.
Storch fielded a shot back to the mound, checked the runner at second and
threw to first to get the batter.  Madison Tracey collected the out and
then fired to third to try and prevent the runner on second from advancing
to third.  Brianna Davis caught the shorthop in the baseline and applied
the tag to the sliding runner to complete the double play and end the 6th
inning.  In the bottom of the 7th a flyout to Landers behind third and a
deep one to rightfield tracked down by Dee Dee Sullivan carded the first
two outs.  Storch struck out  a pinch-hitter for the third out and the
opportunity to go into overtime with Mauldin in the middle of their order
and Boiling Springs at the top of theirs.
      The Lady Mavs      struckout, flew out to short, and grounded out to
second , making it too easy for the District 3 champs.  The A-train got the
Lady Dogs leadoff hitter to flyout to rightfield, then their second batter
to hit a little pop fly that she caught herself.  Then  Alaynie Page
stepped into the batters box ... and the rest is history, as she would
none-to-modestly describe to the Greenville News reporter on the field
after the game.
      The game had a dramatic, even if disappointing climax.  It had been
an exciting game throughout, especially for fans of pitching and defense.
The Lady Mavs left seven runners on base and only managed 4 hits in the
game.  Credit the Boiling Springs pitching and defense for neutralizing
most of the Mauldin lineup and minimizing the effect of their 3 errors.
The Lady Bulldogs got the most out of their 6 hits and capitalized on the
lone Mauldin error, leaving only 3 runners on the basepaths.  It was a game
that could have gone either way...and a game that probably neither team
thought they played particularly well.  Dont be surprised if there is a
rematch this week !
      First the Lady Mavs will have to defeat arch-rival Hillcrest in an
elimination game at Clayton Field in Mauldin at 6:00m pm on Monday evening
- TONIGHT !  It will be a rubber match between two teams from Region 2 that
Split during the regular season.  Boiling Springs will host JL Mann at
approximately the same time in the winners bracket.  The loser will host
the winner of tonight's Mauldin - Hillcrest game on Wednesday May 11th.  Go
Lady Mavs !