Young Mavericks stay unbeaten

 Defending state champs knock off Hillcrest, 8-5

Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 2:00 am


By Scott Keeler
Tribune-Times Writer

Following the graduation of eight seniors off last year's Class AAAA state softball championship team, Mauldin High was faced with the task of rebuilding, and doing so in the not-so-arguably toughest region in the state.

So far, the rebuilding project hasn't had any bumps in the road. The Mavericks improved to 15-0 and 5-0 in Region 2-AAAA with an 8-5 win over Hillcrest on March 29.

Mauldin did find itself in unfamiliar territory against its archrival, though. The Rams' Courtney Roberts and Casey Stephens had first-inning RBI singles to give Hillcrest a 2-0 lead.

“I'm really proud of the girls, how they battled back,” said Mauldin coach Joseph Terry. “(Starting pitcher Amanda Storch) hasn't given up runs in the first inning like that, but that happens. And I'm glad it happened because we got to see what she was made out of.”

Coming into the game, Storch had allowed three earned runs in 55 innings for a 0.38 ERA. The freshman right-hander had 65 strikeouts and seven walks.

After the Rams' first-inning outburst, Storch settled in. She retired 15 of the next 16 batters. The only Hillcrest player to reach base during the stretch did so on the Mavs' lone error.

Terry credited Mauldin catcher Kaitlyn Wagers with helping Storch regain her focus.

“A lot of people don't know this, but she calls our pitches,” said Terry. “She worked her tail off over the summer … and made herself into a quality catcher.”

Mauldin came back to tie the score with an unearned run in each of the first two innings, then Brianna Davis blasted the first pitch of the bottom of the third over the center field fence to give the Mavericks a 3-2 lead. Davis finished the game with half of Mauldin's eight hits, including two doubles.

Mauldin broke the game open in the fifth. Despite hitting just two balls out of the infield, 10 Mavericks batted. Deanna Sullivan had a bases-loaded walk, and Wagers and Emma Swearingen had RBI singles as Mauldin took an 8-2 lead.

Hillcrest fought back with two-out rallies in the sixth and seventh.

Sarah Stewart had an RBI single in the sixth. In the seventh, Brittany Mackey and Stephens had back-to-back RBI singles, before Storch got

 

Stewart to line out to short to end the game.

Stephens went 3-for-4 for the Rams, who dropped their third straight region game.

“They're not going to give up. They never give up,” said Hillcrest coach Kim Givens. “We start off strong, and then just kind of fall apart in one inning. Then we battle back hard, but we just can't get down that far.”

Coming into the game, Storch had allowed three earned runs in 55 innings for a 0.38 ERA. The freshman right-hander had 65 strikeouts and seven walks.

After the Rams' first-inning outburst, Storch settled in. She retired 15 of the next 16 batters. The only Hillcrest player to reach base during the stretch did so on the Mavs' lone error.

Terry credited Mauldin catcher Kaitlyn Wagers with helping Storch regain her focus.

“A lot of people don't know this, but she calls our pitches,” said Terry. “She worked her tail off over the summer … and made herself into a quality catcher.”

Mauldin came back to tie the score with an unearned run in each of the first two innings, then Brianna Davis blasted the first pitch of the bottom of the third over the center field fence to give the Mavericks a 3-2 lead. Davis finished the game with half of Mauldin's eight hits, including two doubles.

Mauldin broke the game open in the fifth. Despite hitting just two balls out of the infield, 10 Mavericks batted. Deanna Sullivan had a bases-loaded walk, and Wagers and Emma Swearingen had RBI singles as Mauldin took an 8-2 lead.

Hillcrest fought back with two-out rallies in the sixth and seventh.

Sarah Stewart had an RBI single in the sixth. In the seventh, Brittany Mackey and Stephens had back-to-back RBI singles, before Storch got Stewart to line out to short to end the game.

Stephens went 3-for-4 for the Rams, who dropped their third straight region game.

“They're not going to give up. They never give up,” said Hillcrest coach Kim Givens. “We start off strong, and then just kind of fall apart in one inning. Then we battle back hard, but we just can't get down that far.”