After Clover's 3-1 loss to York April 12, Blue Eagles softball coach Shea Hall found herself repeating many of the things she's said repeatedly to her team huddled around her during postgame heart-to-heart chats this spring.
She's at the broken record stage of a difficult year for Clover softball. The Blue Eagles' loss to the Cougars dropped them to 4-14, a stark decline from the last five years when Clover averaged 23 wins per season, reaching the Upper State tournament four times and winning the 4A state title in 2015.
That team was led by a group of players that started for the Clover varsity as middle schoolers, including pitcher Elizabeth Edmunds and multiple current college players. So Hall has seen this process work before.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald
"Maybe it's just been a while and I've got to be a little more patient," she said. "I thought I had prepared myself for this coming in but I did not do a good job."
Clover's schedule is just as hard as it has been in the past. But the Blue Eagles are as inexperienced as ever with a seventh grade starting pitcher, and two eighth graders and only four upperclassmen in the starting lineup. Hall's team has also been taken down a peg by multiple serious injuries, including two season-enders.
And still the Blue Eagles loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning against York and looked primed to do some damage to their rivals. But the Cougars' USC Upstate signee pitcher Kaiden Quinn worked out of the jam with two strikeouts and a ground ball to end the inning.
The Blue Eagles only scratched out one run on a walk. And they didn't score the rest of the game.
"It’s tough when you're losing. We keep trying to tell them 'adversity is gonna make you stronger,'" said Hall. "I think I've pulled out every cliche. Oh my gosh."
Losing to York this season is no big shock. Coach Will Jameson has a loose -- almost goofy? -- and talented team that plays at one of the best facilities in Upper State South Carolina. The Cougars (12-7) completed a morale-boosting sweep of Clover Thursday night -- the first in at least 10 years -- but host a much more important game Friday against South Pointe. The winner will have an inside shot at second place in Region 3-4A and a home playoff game.
York County high schools hosting Phenom Hoops' Queen City Showcase this weekend
The top travel basketball programs around the region and country will gather at various high schools in York County, S.C., April 14 and 15 to compete in Phenom’s Queen City Showcase. Games will be played at Nation Ford, Fort Mill, Clover and York Comprehensive High Schools, starting at 8 a.m. each day.
Teams sponsored by NBA players Chris Paul (CP3), Raymond Felton (Team Felton) and John Wall (Team Wall) will be participating along with 14-year NBA player Jeff McInnis (Team Charlotte). Other shoe sponsored organizations that will be sending teams to participate are Team Loaded, Upward Stars, Mooresville Magic and Team Denver.
Some of the nation’s top prospects will be playing in this event. Five players ranked among the nation’s top junior prospects will be participating, 247Sports No. 21 Joey Baker (Team Felton), 247Sports No. 23 Wendell Moore (Team CP3), 247Sports No. 47 Juwan Gary (Team United), Rivals.com No. 65 Greg Gantt (Team Felton), Rivals.com No. 76 Patrick Williams (Team United), 247Sports No. 82 Donovan Gregory (Team Charlotte), and 247Sports No. 94 Antavion Collum (Team CP3).
Players in this event are being recruited by the who’s who of college basketball programs including Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Clemson, Kansas, and many of the other top blue blood programs that can be seen on television.
Spectators are welcome to attend the games. Tickets are $15 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday.
Northwestern 6, Clover 0
Northwestern made the most of six hits and topped Clover 6-0 in a Region 4-5A contest at Clover Wednesday night.
Northwestern broke it open with three runs in the fifth inning for a 5-0 lead. Jordan Starkes led Northwestern with three hits and one RBI. Coby Boan added one hit and drove in a pair of runs. Wesley Sweatt pitched a complete game to pick up the win. He scattered four hits and struck out 11. Bo Bodine took the loss for Clover.
Northwestern is 17-2 in all games and 8-0 in region play. Clover is 6-14 overall and 1-10 in the region.
Fort Mill 6, Rock Hill 5 (10)
Fort Mill edged Rock Hill 6-5 in in a 10-inning Region 4-5A game at Rock Hill Wednesday night.
The game was tied 1-1 after one frame and 5-5 when six innings were complete. Bartow Keller led Fort Mill with three hits. J. T. Marr added two hits and drove in three runs, and Connor Manco added two hits. Noah Chapman got one hit and knocked in a pair of runs for Rock Hill.
Drew Hartman came on in relief and picked up the win for Fort Mill. He struck out eight.
Fort Mill is 15-5 overall and 5-3 in region action. Rock Hill is 13-8 in all games and 3-5 in the region.
Dorman 3, Nation Ford 2
Dorman scored twice in the sixth and claimed a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Nation Ford in a non-region game at Nation Ford Wednesday night.
UNC Greensboro commit Bradley Bott led Nation Ford, which out-hit Dorman 6-5, with two base knocks. Nation Ford is 10-9 overall on the year.
Lewisville sweeps Chesterfield
Lewisville swept a doubleheader from Chesterfield in non-region action at Chesterfield Wednesday night. The Lions won the first game 3-0 and got an 8-6 victory in the nightcap.
Chase Yoder led Lewisville in the opening contest with a single and two RBI. His two-run double in the fourth gave Lewisville a 3-0 lead. Quentin Sanders added a double. Rhett Cox pitched a complete game and got the victory to improve to 5-1 on the year.
Billy Keels’ club fell behind 6-0 after two frames in the second game, but rallied to get the victory.
Lewisville cut it to 6-2 with two runs in the third and then scored six times in the fourth to claim the come from behind win. Zach Wier was hit by a pitch to oepn the fourth inning. He rode home on Yoder's triple. After Sanders walked, Nic Rachels and Jack Jordan followed with singles and it was 6-5. Cox's double tied it at 6-6, and Luke Harris' triple plated the final two runs.
Harris worked in relief and got the win. When he entered the game in the second inning, The Lions trailed 6-0. He shut down Chesterfield the rest of the way. Lewisville is 15-4 overall on the year.
Lewisville 7, Mid-Carolina 1
Lewisville got 10 hits and defeated Mid-Carolina 7-1 in a non-region game at Richburg Thursday night.
Chloe Thomas tossed a complete game to get the victory. She allowed only one hit and struck out 10 to improve to 14-4 on the year.
Ivy McCall led Lewisville with two hits and 3 RBI. Abby Thomas added two hits and drove in three runs. Paige Williamson got one hit and drove in a pair of runs. Codi Horne added a double to the Lewisville offense. Lewisville is 18-4 on the year.
Fort Mill 10, Blythewood 3
Fort Mill defeated Blythewood 10-3 in a non-region game at Fort Mill Thursday night. Fort Mill is 17-4 on the year.
Nation Ford 13, Chester 9
Nation Ford defeated Chester 13-9 in a non-region game at Chester Wednesday night. The Falcons got nine hits and took advantage of four Chester errors to get the win.
Carly Gardner led Nation Ford with three hits and two RBI. Samantha Bentley added one hit and drove in four runs. Mackenzie Gaston got the win for Nation Ford. She pitched a complete game and struck out three.
Nation Ford is 9-5 on the year, while Chester is 5-5 overall.
South Pointe 15, Richland Northeast 1
South Pointe routed Richland Northeast 15-1 in a Region 3-4A game at Richland Northeast Tuesday night.
Meg Mathis led South Pointe with three hits and 3 RBI. Kayt Houston added two triples and drove in three runs. Isabella Dunn got a pair of hits, including a triple, and drove in one run.
Dunn pitched a complete game to get the win. She allowed only one hit and struck out 11.
South Pointe is 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the region.
Rock Hill 3, Dreher 0
Rock Hill scored twice in the second half to break open a close contest and top Dreher 3-0 in a non-region match at Rock Hill Thursday night. The Bearcats are 11-7 overall on the year.
Chester 4, Keenan 0
Chester toppled Keenan 4-0 in a non-region match at Chester Wednesday night.
Garrison Wyatt led Chester with a pair of goals. Brandon Lawson and Kenard Young each scored once. Monty Bean and Jeffrey Gulish picked up assists for Chester.
Chester is 8-6 on the year.
Camden 2, Chester 0
Camden edged Chester 2-0 in a Region 4-3A match at Camden Thursday night. Chester is 4-10 overall and 3-5 in the region.
Clover 2, Northwestern 0
Clover scored two goals in the first half and made it stand up for a 2-0 win over Northwestern in a Region 4-5A match at Clover Wednesday night.
Clover is 15-1 overall and 3-1 in the region. Northwestern is 10-6 in all matches and winless in four outings in the region.
Gaffney 7, Lewisville 0
Gaffney topped Lewisville 7-0 in a non-region match at Lewisville Tuesday night. Lewisville is 5-3 overall on the year.
Fort Mill 19, Nation Ford 12
Fort Mill topped Nation Ford 19-12 in a Region 4-5A game at Fort Mill Thursday night.
The win gave Fort Mill the region title. Fort Mill led 4-1 after one period, and took a 9-4 lead at halftime. They were in front 15-9 after three quarters.
Fort Mill is 7-6 overall and 4-1 in the region. Nation Ford is 7-7 in all games and 5-3 in the region.
Clover 5, Eastside 3
Clover toppled Eastside 5-3 in a non-region game at Eastside Thursday night. Clover is 7-8 overall on the year.
Clover 11, Lexington 4
Clover defeated Lexington 11-4 in a non-region game at Clover Wednesday night.
Fort Mill 11, Nation Ford 2
Fort Mill defeated Nation Ford 11-2 in a Region 4-5A game at Nation Ford Thursday night.
The victory gave Fort Mill the region title for the second year in a row. Fort Mill is 11-3 in all games and 7-0 in region play. Nation Ford is 5-9 overall and 3-4 in the region.
Clover 15, Hillcrest 9
Clover defeated Hillcrest 15-9 in a non-region game at Clover Thursday night. Clover is 7-7 overall on the year.
Nation Ford 6, Northwestern 0
Nation Ford defeated Northwestern 6-0 in a Region 4-5A match at Nation Ford Thursday afternoon.
Fort Mill 5, South Pointe 1
Fort Mill won four singles and one doubles and beat South Pointe 5-1 in a non-region match at Fort Mill Wednesday afternoon.
Zach Dodson got Fort Mill going with a win at number one singles. South Pointe's Martin Jackson knotted the score with a win at number two singles. Trey Robinson (No. 3), Charlie Lynch (No. 4), and Stephen Murri (No. 5) claimed wins for Fort Mill and it was 4-1.
Wade Havnaer and Matt Sanford teamed up to win the number two doubles for Fort Mill to close out the match.
Fort Mill is 7-3 overall on the year.
Chester 197, Lewisville 202, Great Falls 207
Chester won a three-way non-region match at Chester Golf Club Wednesday afternoon. They beat Lewisville by five strokes and topped Great Falls by 10 strokes.