The Fort Mill softball team survived the Clover Blue Eagles with a 7-6 win to stay alive in the 5A Upper State playoffs May 6, 2019.
Clover (18-10) mounted rally after rally, including one in the top of the seventh in an elimination game against Fort Mill (20-6) knowing that if they lost their season would be over.
Fort Mill went up in the second inning, Clover rallied.
The Jackets went ahead in the fifth and again Clover rallied.
The Blue Eagles fought back for a third time in the top of the seventh, but this time couldn’t get the lead and Fort Mill survived.
“I wish we could have been better earlier,” said Clover head coach Shea Hall. “I am always proud of the fight of our team.”
Fort Mill will play the Hillcrest Rams Wednesday in another elimination game. The winner will go onto face the Byrnes Rebels Friday needing to win both games of a doubleheader in the Upper State title game.
With Monday’s game tied at 2-2 in the fifth inning, Fort Mill unleashed six consecutive hits to score five runs to take a comfortable lead at 7-2. Emma Skovran, Aleah Roy, Brynn Bartolini, Payton Lemire and Reagan Smith all singled before Clover starting pitcher Gracie McSwain was pulled. The first batter after the pitching change was Emma Tisdale, who ripped a two RBI triple to extend the Jackets’ lead as Fort Mill batted around in the inning.
Leading hitter for Fort Mill in the game was Roy, who went 2-3 with an RBI and Tisdale, who went 1-3 with the triple and two RBI.
In the sixth inning, Clover got two runs on two hits with the help of an RBI double by Sophia Sprouse and an RBI single from Kalia Caviness to cut into the Jackets lead.
Clover again picked up two runs in the top of the seventh with the help of two Fort Mill errors and a walk, but couldn’t tie the game before the third out.
Fort Mill head coach Chuck Stegall knows his team will have to clean up its mental and fielding errors Wednesday against Hillcrest.
“When we had the big inning (in the fifth), we went into a different game plan,” he said. “We still had to go at them, but they are a good team.”
Fort Mill went up in the bottom of the second, playing some small ball to get on the board first. Trinity Wall singled to get things started for the Jackets and, after stealing second, was driven in by Roy. Roy scored on a delayed steal, which got Clover out of the inning but not before Fort Mill could score first. Clover threatened in the top of the third putting the first two batters on.
The Blue Eagles’ Sami Chavis scored on a wild pitch for the visiting team to cut the Jackets lead in half. A wild pitch later in the inning for Fort Mill allowed Clover to tie the game.
Lemire did well for Fort Mill pitching, but was hurt for the second consecutive game by Jackets’ errors. Still, the College of Charleston signee threw a complete game, allowing four runs on four hits, while walking four and striking out five. Of the six runs scored by the Blue Eagles only two of were earned.