The Clover High School girls’ softball team on Saturday lost its first Region 3-AAAA game in two years 4-3 to visiting Northwestern.
“Defensive breakdowns were the difference in the game,” said coach Shea Hall. “You can’t have breakdowns against a team like Northwestern and a pitcher like Wancheck. I was proud of our players for fighting their way back into the game,” she said.
The Trojans held a 4-0 lead into the fourth inning behind ace hurler Kori Wancheck.
The Blue Eagles got into the game when the team pushed three runs across the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Brittany Rhinehardt singled to left field to open the inning and scooted to second when the ball was misplayed. She advanced to third base following a well-executed bunt by identical twin sister Brooke Rhinehardt.
Power-hitting Marisa Harkey sent Brooke Rhinehardt across the plate with an infield hit.
Clover pitcher Elizabeth Edmunds was hit by a pitch, resulting in runners at first and third.
A bunt single by Hannah Curtis scored Harkey from third making the score 4-3.
But Wancheck retired Morgan Graves to stymie the rally.
The Blue Eagles threatened in the bottom of the sixth when Harkey led off with a two-strike single.
With one out, Edmunds reached on an infield hit, leaving Harkey in scoring position. But the potential rally fell short.
Sidney Burrell beat out a bunt and Wallert laced a single in the bottom of the seventh but did not score.
Despite the loss, Edmunds slammed the door shut after the Trojans built a four-run lead. She finished with eight strikeouts.
On Friday night, the Lady Blue Eagles fell behind early to rival York but defeated the Lady Cougars 12-2.
The CHS girls pounded 11 hits in the game.
Edmunds pitched a complete game, striking out four to pick up the win.
Harkey had another big game at the plate, lashing a double and a triple and driving in three runs. Brooke Rhinehardt had two hits in three at-bats and Shania Domingue had two hits and a pair of RBIs.
“York played well in the early innings and we worked our way back into the game,” Hall said. “Our hitting came around.”
Wallert, who established herself as a dangerous hitter for the CHS girls last season, continues to pound the ball this season.
“We kept our composure when we fell behind and started hitting the ball,” she said. “I am confident when I step to the plate.”
The Blue Eagles will travel to Northwestern Thursday. The game begins at 5 p.m., with the JV teams squaring off. The varsity game starts at 7 p.m.