PREP SOFTBALL

Lady Gamecocks beat Irmo 7-6

BY EDDIE LITAKER
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 4/14/19

Shortstop Anna Lowder delivered a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the ninth inning as Sumter High School's varsity softball team overcame a 6-run second inning by Region IV-5A foe Irmo to rally for a 7-6 win on Friday at the SHS …

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PREP SOFTBALL

Lady Gamecocks beat Irmo 7-6

Posted

Shortstop Anna Lowder delivered a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the ninth inning as Sumter High School's varsity softball team overcame a 6-run second inning by Region IV-5A foe Irmo to rally for a 7-6 win on Friday at the SHS field.

The winning rally opened with Gabby Kirkman on second base under international tiebreaker rules. Josie Self hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who looked to throw to third with Kirkman beating the throw. The Lady Yellow Jackets then elected to issue a free pass to Braelynn Durham, loading the bases for Lowder to bring home Kirkman with the winning run.

"We've been patient with these girls all year, and they've really had to buy into what we're trying to do, and it's been a process," said SHS head coach Mike Moss, whose team improved to 9-7 overall and 3-5 in region play. "For them to compete the way that they did tonight, and they've just never backed down from anything, they just kept scratching and clawing and my hat's off to them. It's a wonderful finish for them."

With the win, the Lady Gamecocks pulled within a half-game of 3-4 Spring Valley for the region's No. 3 spot heading into the state playoffs. The Lady Vikings' scheduled Friday game with Blythewood was rained out, so Sumter now awaits the make-up of that game to determine its playoff fate. Moss said on Saturday he didn't think the game would be made up until April 23.

The Lady Gamecocks got out of the gate quickly against the Lady Yellow Jackets, putting up three runs in the bottom of the first. Starting pitcher Emily Jordan, Kailin Hodge and Kirkman reached on a walk, fielder's choice and single, respectively, with all coming around to score assisted by a few Irmo fielding errors.

Jordan had a fairly easy first on the mound for Sumter, walking leadoff hitter Precious Bross but ending with a 1-2-3 frame after battery mate Hodge caught Bross attempting to steal second. The second inning, however, did not go quite as well for Jordan, who was relieved after facing six batters and not recording an out. Three of those batters reached on walks, one by error and two on singles, with all eventually coming around to score.

Reagan Troublefield took over with her team trailing 4-3 and quickly got two outs on a strikeout and grounder to short before surrendering a 2-run single to Julie Hilliard for what would prove to be the final two runs of the night for Irmo.

The Lady Gamecocks pushed across single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to tie the score but missed some good opportunities to end the game in regulation. Sumter batters closed with 12 hits but struck out eight times against Irmo starter Abbi Clem and left 12 on base, including eight in scoring position.

Troublefield set the Lady Yellow Jackets down in order in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, scattering seven hits with six strikeouts and one base on balls over eight innings.

"Reagan did a super job," Moss said. "Reagan's been sick the past two days (with) an upper respiratory infection or something and we weren't expecting her to play. It was a last minute deal and she got out there and competed and, I think, threw her best game of the year by far."

Kirkman and Lowder both went 3-for-5 with an RBI at the plate for Sumter, with Kirkman scoring three runs and Lowder crossing the plate once. Hodge added two hits and a run in five plate appearances.

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