CLOVER -- The Clover High School softball team continued its ascent in the Region 3-AAAA standings with a hard fought 5-3 win over Nation Ford last week.
The CHS girls scored four runs in the second inning to gain the early lead.
Highlighting the inning were run-scoring singles by second-baseman Casey Killian and shortstop Tanaya Pettus.
Nation Ford sliced the lead to a scant run, scoring two runs in the third inning and a single run in the fourth.
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The home-standing Lady Blue Eagles added an insurance run in the sixth, with Paige Ferguson and Sarah Thomas laying down successful bunts.
"We had a tough inning when they got back in the game," noted head coach Shea Hall. "Nation Ford creates a lot of pressure with their style of play.
"But our kids responded and picked up the win."
With region play winding down and playoff seedings on the line, ace hurler Shay Jackson said the Lady Blue Eagles need to play together and play solid in all phases of the game.
Jackson, a starter since the seventh-grade, said she has returned to form on the mound.
When Nation Ford made it a 1-run game, Jackson became more dominant.
"I become more focused when the game gets tight," she said.
Having overcome elbow and collarbone injuries, Jackson was hit by a pitch on her left thumb while batting against Nation Ford.
"I think it'll be OK," said Jackson, forcing a grin at the thought of another injury.
Catcher Jaclin Poole said Jackson's return to mound duty is complete.
"Shay's best pitch is a screwball, which breaks to the inside on right-handed hitters," commented Poole. "Her change-up makes fools out of the hitters."
Pettus felt good about her two-run single in the second inning.
"I feel confident when I step to the plate," she said.
Pettus said defense is the key to success the remainder of the season.
Coach Hall agrees.
"We rely on Shay's pitching and solid defensive play," she said. "We're not an explosive team. Most teams aren't against quality pitching."
Concluded Hall, "We need to win out and see what happens with the playoff situation. All of our opponents in the region are good teams.
"There's no sigh of relief. We have to be ready to play every game."
The CHS girls defeated Northwestern 9-2 as Samantha Peters picked up win number four.
Poole and Pettus each had two hits and Jackson had a two-run double.
Clover began the week with a narrow 3-2 loss to Gaffney. Peters had a double, Pettus tripled and GeorgeAnna Westmoreland homered.
The Lady Blue Eagles return to action Tuesday at Gaffney, with a 7 p.m. starting time.