Wilson Hall and Cardinal Newman will play a third and deciding game for the SCISA 3A softball state title on Wednesday after the Lady Cardinals picked up a 7-0 win on Tuesday at the CN field in Columbia to even the best-of-3 series.
The deciding game will be played today at 6 p.m. in Columbia, but at the University of South Carolina's Beckham Field.
Cardinal Newman will bring a 22-4 record into the contest, while the Lady Barons will be 12-16.
On Monday at Patriot Park SportPlex, Sophie Greene dropped a bases-loaded single into left field after fouling off six pitches with two strikes to put the Lady Barons on top in a 3-run bottom of the sixth inning in a 4-2 win.
"It was a little bit stressful up there," said Greene, an eighth-grade shortstop. "I was just focused on getting a hit. I wasn't trying to hit it out. I was just trying to help my team."
"I'd say we're doing a good job of staying the course that we set over the weekend (in the state tournament)," said Wilson Hall head coach Teresa Alexander. "I think we're just a team that is confident in what we can do right now."
The Lady Barons, who beat Cardinal Newman 16-13 on Friday, trailed 2-1 going into its at-bat in the sixth. Lady Cardinals pitcher Carsten Puckett retired Caitleigh Bryant to start the inning. However, Sydney Jarecki was able to drop a single into center field between the infielders and outfielders to start the WH rally because the outfield was playing so deep.
Andie Grae Wingate followed with a single to send Jarecki to third. Ellie Stone then one-hopped a double to the fence in left, easily scoring Jarecki to tie the game and sending Wingate to third.
CN head coach Dwayne Jones chose to intentionally walk Dani Hanley to load the bases with one out and put on the force at each base. Greene got into a 1-2 hole and started to foul off pitches before she dropped a single into left to score Wingate and make it 3-2.
"They had been pitching me inside," Greene said. "That pitch was more over the middle of the plate."
Alexander was not surprised by Greene's at-bat.
"That at-bat shows Sophie's personality; she's just a gritty player," Alexander said. "She just fights and never gives up."
Wilson Hall got an insurance run when Mary Claire Lee grounded back to Puckett, who chose to throw to first instead of going home to try and get the force. Stone scored to make it 4-2.
Lady Barons pitcher Kailee Poston followed with her only 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to secure the win.
Poston allowed five hits and hit one batter while striking out three.
"Kailee knows what her role is as a pitcher," Alexander said. "She knows she's not an overpowering pitcher. Her strength is her consistency."
Puckett had allowed just two hits through the first five innings before giving up four in the sixth.
Wilson Hall took a 1-0 lead in the second. Hanley reached on an infield single to start the inning and eventually scored on an error.
Cardinal Newman took a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
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