After two weeks off, South Pointe softball coach Ryan Morrison wasn’t sure what to expect Thursday night.
Stallions gloves still had a bit of cobwebs, but the team’s sticks were alive and ready in a 9-3 win over crosstown rival Rock Hill.
“You’ll take what you can get,” said Morrison about the first game back from the layoff. “We’re healthy, but we’re rusty.”
The Stallions scored once in the first and twice in the third to take a 3-0 lead over the host Bearcats. Four runs in the fourth broke the game open and South Pointe could have ended it via the 10-run rule in the fifth inning.
Rock Hill rallied defensively to stave off an early loss, and Alisha Waldrop’s team scored three runs in the final two innings but it wasn’t enough to avoid the loss.
“I was surprised how good we played,” said pitcher Jamie Rankin, who did a little bit of everything for the Stallions.
South Pointe put some distance between itself and the hosts in the fourth, all with two outs.
No. 9 hitter Sierra Gilmore singled and Kam Culp reached on an error to lengthen the inning. Kayt Houston, Isabella Dunn and Rankin then followed with run-scoring hits. Houston’s single drove in Gilmore and Culp, part of four runs in the frame that grew the Stallions’ lead to 7-0 and all but settled the game.
“One of those where if somebody gets on, everybody gets on,” said Morrison. “We’re streaky. But I thought we hit the ball real well.”
Rankin pointed out that South Pointe has struggled in the past against slower-throwing pitchers. But 14 hits and a slew of base runners suggest the Stallions had no problems Thursday night against Rock Hill.
“We’ve practiced slow hitting so I think that helped us,” she said.
There was no leftover sun screen from spring break or glaring tan lines on Rankin; she looked ready to go in both phases of the game. Pitching-wise, she only gave us two extra base hits and would have had a much easier evening were it not for five South Pointe defensive errors.
Rankin struck out six batters, but made contact every time she stepped into the box to hit. The Columbia College softball commit drove in a run with a single through the right side of the infield in the first inning, blasted an RBI sacrifice fly into the outfield in the top of the third, and singled in another run during the fruitful fourth.
South Pointe gets the unenviable challenge of facing Union County, one of the best softball programs in the state, on Friday night. Rock Hill regroups over the weekend before facing A.C. Flora on the road Monday, the first of four games next week.
South Pointe 9, Rock Hill 3
WP- Jamie Rankin; LP- Reese Therrell
Leading hitters: SP- Kayt Houston 2-4, 2 RBI; Rankin 2-3, 3 RBI, Mercedes Howze 3-4, RBI; Scarlet Gilmore 2-4. RH- Grace Crooke 3-4, 2 2Bs; Paige Love 2-3, 3B, RBI.
Records: South Pointe 6-11; Rock Hill 7-11