Hartsville softball ends perfect region season
By Don Gearhart
With only two seniors and a young nucleus, the Hartsville Lady Red Foxes have a bright future. They finished the regular season with an 18-3 record and a perfect 12-0 record in 4A Region 6. Friday night’s rivalry game against the Lady Falcons of Darlington was a 5-inning affair with the Lady Red Foxes defeating the Lady Falcons by a 12-1 score on Darlington’s home field.
Neither team scored in the first inning although Darlington got one runner aboard when Ashton Goodwin was hit by a pitch.
In the second inning, Caydon Thompson led off for Hartsville with a base-on-balls. One out later, Avarie Easters was hit by a pitch to put runners on second and first. An infield pop fly out and a grounder to short ended their inning. Darlington was retired in order in their half of the inning.
In the third inning, Jaysha McCullough led off with a bloop over the third baseman’s head which she turned into a double with blazing speed and a hard slide into the second base bag. When the next two batters were retired, Alyssa Poston worked a base-on-balls setting up Thompson’s double over the right fielder’s head to bring in two runs. With two outs, Darlington got a runner aboard when Ary McPhail’s grounder to third sailed over the first baseman’s head. Poston struck out the next batter to end the inning.
In the Red Foxes fourth inning, Easters got on base on a fielding error. After a walk, then two strikeout, Myah Harvey plated one run on a base hit. Olivia Martin cleared the bases with a booming triple to right. Hartsville now commanded a 5-0 lead. Darlington struck for their only run of the game in the bottom of the inning. Goodwin was hit by a pitch for the second time when the pitch grazed her jersey according to the home plate umpire. She advanced to second on a fielder’s choice then scampered home on the only hit of the night for the Lady Falcons when Kansas Cassidy drilled a base hit up the middle.
Hartsville put their foot on the gas in the fifth inning. Thompson walked but was forced at second when the Easters hit into a fielder’s choice. Jamarria Pendergrass walked ahead of Carter Shumate’s infield single to load the bases. Mirah Weatherford got credit for an RBI when her walk forced Easters to score. Harvey then singled up the middle to drive in Pendergrass. Martin’s base hit drove in Watkins and left the bases still loaded for Poston. She put the icing on the cake with her first ever grand slam that was a line shot to right-center. The seven-run outburst made the score 12-1 in favor of the Lady Red Foxes.
Poston finished the Lady Falcons off in the bottom of the fifth and ended the game with a 1-hitter, striking out eight, hitting two batters and only allowing four baserunners all night. Harvey and Martin had two hits apiece for Hartsville who had a total of eight hits for the game but were aided by eight free passes.
The Lady Red Foxes now enter the postseason as the number one seed and will host Airport on May 4 in Hartsville.