Indian Land's softball team advanced in the Class A Upper State tournament Saturday, defeating McBee 6-2 to push its overall record to 14-11.
Winning pitcher for the Lady Warriors was Beth Martin (3-2), who struck out three and walked two. Indian Land catcher Kristin Campbell scored two runs. Martin had a single and double for the night and scored a run. Paige Brugh went three-for-four with an RBI.
The biggest hit, however, came off the bat of Kelly Pauls, who had a grand slam.
"The girls do a good job of firing themselves up," Head Coach Nicole Ritter said. "They have rituals they've maintained over the years."
To get there, the Lady Warriors had to battle thunder, lightning, a 40-minute rain delay and an outstanding pitching performance by Fox Creek's Danielle Payne last Thursday.
Indian Land needed to win only one game to advance, because the Lady Warriors were undefeated in their district tournament. Fox Creek, which lost to Indian Land in the second round, won the opening game 3-2 in nine innings. The win by the Lady Predators forced a deciding second game.
In that game, Indian Land took control early, although it was a slim lead, and went on to a 3-1 victory.
Indian Land lost the toss and ended up being the visitor on its own home field. In the top of the fourth, Martin and Campbell got Indian Land started with back-to-back singles. Brugh stepped in and slapped a single up the middle to score Martin for a 1-0 lead. Brugh's hit came off Payne, who had come in and replaced Kayla Clem on the mound.
But that was it for the Lady Warriors, with Payne getting the first out on a grounder, and the next two on strikeouts. Payne, who struck out 11 Indian Land batters in the opener, sat down the Lady Warriors in the top of the fifth, while recording two more strikeouts.
Indian Land got to Payne in the top of the sixth. Martin led off with her second single of the game. With one out, Brugh sent a bouncer to third base.
The ball was overthrown at first, allowing Martin to score and Brugh kept running. She never hesitated when reaching second, and raced to third. As had happened at first base, the ball was overthrown and Brugh wound up circling the bases on two errors for a 3-0 Lady Warriors lead.
Things got a little bit dicey for Indian Land in the bottom of the sixth.
With one out, Micaela Bell rapped a double that bounced up against the wall in left center. Brianna Thomasson followed with a single that scored Bell from second. That's as close as it would get, because it was lights out for the Lady Predators when Campbell retired the next five batters in order to end the game.
In the first game, Fox Creek held a 2-1 lead after scoring twice in the top of the sixth. Indian Land tied it in its half of the inning when Campbell scored from third. Regulation ended tied at two and went into extra innings.
When the top of the ninth rolled around, the international tiebreaker rule went into effect. Under the rule, the team that's batting gets to start with a runner on second base.With two outs, Bell scored the winning run on Ashlyn Wanniger's soft liner to right.