Unbeaten Tiger softball team escapes Ellis

Published 11:40 am Thursday, April 30, 2015

South Davie’s softball team was trying to end an eight-game losing streak to Ellis, but things looked bleak for the visiting Tigers when Ellis had the bases loaded with one out in a 3-3 game in the bottom of the fifth and final inning.

It was a fullcount.

“Things weren’t looking real good,” South coach Tim Kenney said.

South escaped the jam as Rachel Bostic got a strikeout followed by an infield popup. The unbeaten Tigers were finally able to shake free from the pesky Jaguars, winning 8-5 in six innings.

“It’s nice to have a solid defense and a good pitcher when that happens,” Kenney said. “That got us out of the inning.”

Ellis scored one in the fifth to force an extra inning. South broke it open with a five-run sixth. Bostic knocked in two of the five. Ellis answered with two in its half of the sixth, but it wasn’t nearly enough to avoid a 1-3 record.

Bostic went all six innings in the circle, striking out eight and helping South win on a day when it scored a season-low run total. Sydney Wyatt had two RBIs as South beat Ellis for the first time since a 9-3 decision in 2009. Ellis dominated the 2014 meetings 12-0 and 7-1.

Ellis erased South’s 3-0 lead as it got multiple hits from Shea Woody (3 for 3, two doubles), Caitlyn Sechrist (2-3, triple) and Abby Chilton (2-3).

“We had a couple critical errors, two-out errors, that resulted in runs when we should have been out of the inning,” Kenney said. “We missed a couple signs on the basepaths that resulted in bad plays.”

Sydney Smith kept Ellis in the game by pitching effectively for 5.1 innings.

“Their starting pitcher has improved a ton,” Kenney said. “I give a lot of kudos to Ellis because they played us very well.”

Ellis coach Shannon Wood loved the Jaguars’ effort in the upset bid.

“We played well,” she said. “Smith pitched great after the first couple of batters. She found her groove and was throwing strikes. We had little mistakes that hurt us, but overall we played great.”

The second game of the doubleheader was all South as the Tigers rolled 12-0 in three mercy-rule innings.

Bostic had three RBIs and Wyatt went 2 for 2 with three RBIs as South scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first. Bostic pitched all three innings, allowing two hits and striking out four.

The Tigers recovered from an awful start at Central Wilkes, winning 17-6 to run their record to 6-0. They’ve outscored opponents 87-15.

Three hits and a South throwing error to helped Central take a 6-0 lead in the first. South’s bats came alive in the second and Central had no answer. Abbey Whitaker (four hits), Easton Johnson (four hits, two RBIs), Carley Green (three hits, three RBIs), Bostic (three hits, three RBIs) and Sierra Foster (three hits, two RBIs) led the onslaught.

Bostic was magnificent in relief, allowing one hit in 5.1 innings and striking out eight. She retired 14 of 16 batters.

This season has been a revival for South. The Tigers have the most wins in five years (7-9 in 2009), and they’ve clinched the first winning season in nine years (7-4 in 2005 under coach Mike McDougall).

South’s top batting averages belong to Wyatt (.765), Johnson (.733), Whitaker (.727), Bostic (.583), Green (.538) and Foster (.462).

North Davie’s unbeaten record ended in stinging fashion, an 8-7 loss at Chestnut Grove in which the Wildcats blew a pair of three-run leads.

North led 3-0 and 7-4 before slipping to 3-1.

In the Chestnut Grove fifth, it scored three runs with two outs to force a tie at 7. Two batters got two-strike hits.

It was 7-7 going into the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, the clinching run scored on an error. It was the sixth error of the game behind complete-game pitcher Avery Parrish.

“We missed routine fly balls and three grounders that caused runs to score,” coach Jamie Lyerly said.

North got two hits from Aisulu Ball, Parrish and Kayli Murphy. Parrish tripled and Murphy rapped two doubles. Morgan Athey and Desiree Lewis had one hit each.

North suffered a second loss at home to Starmount, 6-3.

The Wildcats led 1-0 before finding themselves in a 6-1 hole. They only managed four hits while striking out 11 times. Parrish struck out eight Rams in a losing cause. Abbey Custer, Parrish, Murphy and Athey had North’s hits.

“We had more fielding errors and more mental errors – and not enough hits,” Lyerly said.