Truly Seniors' Night as Mavs Defeat Bobcats 6-1

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           The Seneca Bobcats traveled to Mauldin Wednesday night to take on our Lady Mavs.  It was senior night at Clayton field and thus a very special night for three of the Lady Mavs and their families. Seniors Dana Landers, Jessica Lyles and Krystina Sims were honored with the traditional  pre-game ceremony for all their contributions to the Mauldin High softball program throughout their careers.  It was a wonderful tribute to three very special young ladies.

            Once the festivities ended, the parents dried their eyes and the Lady Mavs took the field ready to get this one for the seniors.  Nadine Hernandez got the pitching start for the Mavs, and quickly went to work retiring the first two hitters on an infield pop up and a strike out.  After giving up a single to left, she retired next the batter on an inning ending grounder to Bria Barnhill at second.

            In the bottom half of the inning the number two hitter Bria Barnhill got things rolling with a one out single up the middle.  That brought up Dana Landers and she let it be known right away that this night truly belonged to the seniors.  She absolutely crushed the first pitch she saw from Bobcat pitcher Brittany Reynolds for her 25th career homer to dead center field.  Not even Mav reporter/dad Chuck Landers could have scripted it any better.  DeeDee Sullivan continued her hot hitting of late by hitting a low liner to right center but the Mavs would settle for just the two runs as the Lady Cats hurler then recovered to get the final two outs to end the first.

            Senior shortstop Landers continued her big night in the field, catching an infield pop to retire the first Bobcat batter.  After another Hernandez K, Landers then gobbled up a grounder and threw on to first to end the inning.

            The Mavs again threatened in the bottom half.  Krystina Sims got the start in left field on this senior night, and lead off the inning with a ground out to third.  After another ground out from Nadine Hernandez, senior center fielder Jessica Lyles strode to the plate and joined the senior celebration with a line drive single to left.  Lyles moved to second when Brianna Davis drew a base on balls, but the two were stranded when the Bobcat pitcher induced a come backer off the bat of the Mav second baseman.

            In the top of third it was senior Krystina Sim’s turn to show off her defensive skills as she charged in and caught a shallow fly to left to retire the first Bobcat batter.  First Baseman Tracey gobbled up two ground balls sandwiched around a base on balls to end the inning. 

            Obviously leery of Landers after her first inning bomb, Dana was issued a 4 pitch walk to start the bottom of the third.  DeeDee Sullivan followed with a free pass of her own and Wagers then laid down a sac bunt to put runners at 2nd and 3rd with just one out.  The Mavs were then able to take advantage of the Bobcat’s generosity as Landers scored when the Lady Cat’s third baseman was unable to cleanly field a ground ball from Madison Tracey.  One out later another grounder, this time off the bat of Nadine Hernandez, was booted by the Bobcat shortstop scoring Sullivan from second.  A come backer to the mound ended the rough inning for the Bobcats with the Mavs now leading 4–0.

            In the 4th inning Seneca attempted to take advantage of a bit of wildness from the Mav starting pitcher.  A hit batsman, two wild pitches and a walk put runners on the corners with two outs but the senior night theme continued as Jessica Lyles caught a line drive to center field to secure out number three and end the threat.

            With two outs in the bottom of the 4th Dana Landers again failed to see anything worth swinging at as she again walked on four straight pitches.  Sullivan followed with another line drive to right that eluded the outfielder and rolled to the fence allowing Landers to score all the way from first for her third run of the night extending the Mav lead to 5-0.

            The Bobcats once again mounted an offensive threat in the 5th.  The Lady Cat’s lead off in the 5th stroked a ball to left center where senior Jessica Lyles nearly made the defensive play of the night.  Jessica raced into the gap and laid out to make the catch only to have it pop out of her glove as she hit the ground.  The wily center fielder, however, deftly scooped the ball up with her right hand to present to the umpire.  The umpire, seemingly unaware that this was senior night, didn’t bite and correctly ruled it a base hit.  One out later the Bobcat lead off hitter doubled to the same gap in left center to put runners at second and third.  Third baseman Brianna Davis, however, ended this threat all by herself by snaring a line drive and doubling the runner off of the bag at third.

            The Mavs continued to apply offensive pressure in the bottom half when Madison Tracey was issued a walk and Jessica Lyles continued her good work at the plate with a two out line drive to left making her 2-3 on this senior night.  A pop up to the catcher, however, allowed the Bobcats to end the this inning without losing any more ground.

            The 6th inning provided senior shortstop Dana Landers the opportunity to show off some more nice glove work.  With one out Dana had to reverse direction to coral a grounder that deflected off the glove of  newly inserted pitcher Amanda Storch.  She made it look easy as she cleanly fielded the ball and threw on to first to complete the nifty 1-6-3 force play. 

            The Mavs added one more run in the 6th when Bria Barnhill reached base on a hard hit one hopper off the glove of the Bobcat shortstop.  DeeDee Sullivan then completed her perfect 3-3 night at the plate with an rbi double to left.

            Down 6-0 the Bobcats finally managed to dent the scoreboard in the 7th when the lead off batter reached on a walk and then scored on a misplayed base hit to the outfield.  Storch quickly restored order by striking out the next two Bobcat hitters and Bria Barnhill secured the victory for her senior teammates by fielding a grounder and throwing to first for the final out of the game.  Final score Mauldin 6 – Seneca 1.

            All in all it was a great night and wonderful tribute to the three Lady Mav seniors.  Many thanks to Krystina, Jessica and Dana for all they have done for Mauldin high school softball over their careers.  And though senior night is now over, this season certainly is not.  To quote this team’s senior captain, “Lady Mavs, so far this season has been memorable, but my goal for us is to make it unforgettable. Let’s keep working hard toward our goal and together we can accomplish it!”