CLOVER — The Byrnes Rebels avenged an earlier loss to Clover in the state 4A softball playoffs, prevailing 10-7 Wednesday.
The Rebels assumed command in a productive first inning, building a 5-0 lead.
Lead off hitter Lauren Duggar got things started with an infield hit. Caroline Shinn reached on an error and Duggar crossed the plate moments later on a passed ball.
Parker Burch stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a 2-run single. Lauren Ward had a run-scoring single in the inning and the Rebels plated another run on a force-out.
Trailing 6-0 in the bottom of the third, the Blue Eagles got on the board when Brooke Rhinehardt tripled and later scored when Byrnes hurler Bailey Pearson was called for a balk.
Byrnes pushed the lead to 10-1 in the sixth inning, highlighted by Lauren Ward’s double and Duggar’s infield hit.
The Blue Eagle bats came alive in the sixth inning, starting with Madison Tepfenhart’s single.
Emily Robinson followed with a single and Elizabeth Edmunds doubled home a run. After Katie Robinson was retired, senior mainstay Paige Wallert doubled home two runs.
Brooke Rhinehardt followed with an RBI-single. Tepfenhart’s sac fly accounted for the final run of the inning as the Blue Eagles sliced the lead to three at 10-7.
Wallert belted a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh but the Rebels held on, with Pearson picking up the win.
“You can’t spot a team like Brynes that many runs, Clover coach Shea Hall said after the game. “We dug ourselves a hole and appeared to be out of sync in the early stages of the game.
“I am proud of our players the way they battled back.”
Though disappointed with the loss, Hall lauded the Blue Eagle players for a season to remember.
“We won the district for the first time instead of settling for division success,” she said. “We beat Hillcrest (defending state champions) in the playoffs and Byrnes once.”
Monday’s game drew a large crowd, including members of the Clover football team who lined up behind the outfield fence to cheer the Blue Eagles the last two innings.
“We appreciate the support this season,” Hall said. “People are starting to pay attention to Clover softball.”
Byrnes will play at Boiling Springs Friday, needing two wins to garner the Upstate title.
Bailey Pearson and Lauren Ward (away); Elizabeth Edmunds and Madison Tepfenhart (home). LP - (Edmunds) (23-6); WP - (Pearson) . 2B- Leah Smith Kate Burnett Lauren Ward C - Paige Wallert, Elizabeth Edmunds. 3B - C - Brooke Rhinehardt Leading hitters - C, Brooke Rhinehardt 3-4 RBI 2RS Paige Wallert 2-4 RBI RS Madison Tepfenhart 2-2 RBI Elizabeth Edmunds 2-4 RBI B - Malibu Gaston 3-5 Leah Smith 3-5
Records: Byrnes 25-6; Clover 26-6