A one-two punch of the Wancheck sisters helped the Northwestern Trojans knock the Fort Mill Lady Jackets out of the Upper State softball playoffs with a 5-0 shutout.
Senior pitcher Kori Wancheck, who has committed to USC Upstate, went the distance for the Trojans, allowing six hits and three walks, while striking out seven. She also went 4-for-4 at the plate with a triple and an RBI to lead Northwestern’s hitters as well.
“She is batting around .500 and she has been leading us both on the field and at the plate the last couple games,” said Northwestern coach Bryan Smith.
Northwestern will play Boiling Springs on Wednesday in another elimination game on the road.
“We are going to get a chance to redeem ourselves,” Smith said.
Fort Mill freshman pitcher Bella Roy got the start for the Lady Jackets and walked the first batter, shortstop Cassie Wancheck for Northwestern. She allowed a single to second baseman Daina Chase, before Kori Wancheck singled in her sister and Chase to give the Trojans an early 2-0 lead.
The Jackets wouldn’t shrink back in the bottom of the inning as leadoff hitter Joslyn Halcom singled and was followed with another hit from catcher Lauren Collie. Despite the hits, Wancheck shook off the early setbacks and got out of the inning without allowing a run.
Roy came back in the second inning and showed more of the grit she was known for during the season and got out of the inning without allowing a hit. Wancheck was just as strong facing the Fort Mill minimum.
In the third inning, Kori Wancheck nearly took Roy’s head off with a line drive up the middle and centerfielder Annie Green singled to put two on base for Northwestern. A walk by Roy loaded the bases for the Trojans with two outs, but Roy got out of the jam by getting outfielder Lorna Day to pop up to Collie.
At the plate, Fort Mill struggled early getting just two hits through the first three innings. Jackets coach Chuck Stegall said he knew things would be tough for his squad having to face Wancheck for a third time this season.
“You know Kori is one of the best players in the state,” he said. “She can make it difficult on a batter to constantly hit the ball. We did some fantastic things this season. I couldn’t be more proud of this group.”
In the fourth, Northwestern led off with designated hitter Delia Fields getting on by a Fort Mill error and Cassie Wancheck doubled her in to extend the Trojans lead. Chase sacrificed in Wancheck to make it 4-0 in favor of Northwestern.
Fort Mill showed some signs of life at the plate in the bottom of the fourth as shortstop Peyton Lemire doubled, but Kori Wancheck was able to work around the hit without allowing a run.
The Jackets again threatened to score in the fifth, but couldn’t manufacture a run despite getting a runner to third.
Things looked even better for them in the sixth inning as they got two runners on with just one out. Collie singled and Lemire walked, but the Trojans defense held strong as they got the next two outs again without allowing Fort Mill’s first run to cross the plate.
In the top of the seventh, Kori Wancheck finished her plate appearances with a triple to lead off the inning. Pinch runner LaBresha Whitlock, running for Wancheck, scored Northwestern’s fifth run to help cap off the game for the Trojans.
Kori Wancheck and Rachel Marion (NW), Bella Roy and Lauren Collie (FM).
W – Kori Wancheck, L – Bella Roy. 2B – Cassie Wancheck (NW), Peyton Lemire (FM), Bella Roy (FM). 3B – Kori Wancheck (NW). LOB: Northwestern 8, Fort Mill 8.
Records: Northwestern 21-5, Fort Mill 19-9.