For the first three and a half innings Friday night, Clover and Summerville took turns stranding runners in scoring position.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Blue Eagles’ Hannah Curtis took care of that problem.
Her bases loaded double off the top of the wall in left-centerfield scored two and Clover held on from there to win the 4A softball state championship, its first, 3-1 over the Summerville Green Wave.
The Blue Eagles (23-11) took the series 2-1, with each team winning a game on their home field.
Curtis’ long drive appeared to hit the red line at the top of the fence for what would have been a grand slam, but it was ruled a double and Clover had the game’s first two runs as Katie Robinson and Missy Mavrogian came home and the large Blue Eagles crowd erupted.
“I was just looking for a strike I could hit and move runners,” Curtis said. “She kind of left it hanging so I just took that sucker for a ride. It was awesome, it felt great. I kind of did (think it was out). I’ve never been that big hitter so it just feels great to help my team win.”
Robinson had led off the inning with a double to right-center and beat the throw to second with a head-first slide. Mavrogian, who was 3-for-3, followed with a sharp single to right to put runners at the corners. One out later, Shania Domingue reached on an infield single to load the bases and set up Curtis’ heroics. Micah Sherwood followed Curtis with an RBI-groundout to second that plated Domingue and gave Clover a 3-0 edge. The numbers eight and nine hitters drove in all three runs for the Blue Eagles.
Senior hurler Elizabeth Edmunds, who pitched through wrist tendinitis all season, stranded Green Wave runners on the bases all night long to get the win. She went the distance and only allowed one run on five hits while striking out five and walking one. Edmunds was 7-1 in the playoffs and only gave up eight runs, one per game.
“It feels incredible because I’ve been on varsity since seventh grade and it feels like finally it’s paying off,” Edmunds said through tears. “It hurt (the wrist) but it feels better now.”
Clover won a coin toss Wednesday night and was the designated home team.
Summerville got two runners on in the top of the first with two outs on a throwing error and a walk. But Edmunds got opposing pitcher Summer Jenkins to line out to center to end the inning.
Blake Wallert singled up the middle to start the Clover first and she was bunted to second by eighth-grader Tiffany Domingue. A strikeout and groundout left her there to end the Blue Eagles’ first. A theme was developing as the Green Wave led off their second with a double by Dani Halajcsik. However, Edmunds sat down three straight to leave her in scoring position.
Mavrogian and Edmunds got back-to-back base knocks to start the home second, but Jenkins retired three in a row to escape damage.
The Green Wave again got their leadoff hitter to second in the third, and again she stayed put. Shortstop Marisa Harkey made a great leaping catch of a line drive with one out for the big play in the inning. She was even kind enough to retrieve the runner’s hairbow that fell to the dirt as she retreated back to second.
Summerville would again get a runner to second in the fourth but leave her there.
They finally broke through in the sixth when Taylor Belfiore led off with a double down the left-field line and Sarah Windham followed with a double off the wall in left-center to cut the lead to 3-1.
Edmunds then coaxed three straight groundouts out of the Green Wave order to end their last serious charge. Edmunds recorded her second 1-2-3 inning of the game in the seventh to set off a mad celebration as the Blue Eagles are bringing home the hardware to Clover.
Clover 3, Summerville 1
Elizabeth Edmunds. Summer Jenkins. WP - Edmunds. LP - Jenkins. 2B: CL - Katie Robinson, Hannah Curtis. SV - Taylor Belfiore, Sarah Windham, Dani Halajcsik. Leading hitters: CL - Missy Mavrogian 3-3, SB, R; Elizabeth Edmunds 2-3; Curtis 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI. SV - Windham 1-2, BB, 2B, RBI; Halajcsik 2-3, 2B.