Lady Bengals take down Wildcats

BLYTHEWOOD – Sammy Hall’s bouncer back to the mound barely got past the grasp of Lexington pitcher Allie Light.

And with that RBI single up the middle, so did the Blythewood softball team Tuesday night.

With the game tied at 3 with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Hall’s single drove in Emily Babbitt, who bolted from second base to score the game-winning run and secure a 4-3 victory over the Wildcats.

“In all of our losses this year we’ve been one play away, one pitch away,” Blythewood head coach Jordan Atkinson said. “So all of our focus here has been hit every pitch. No bad innings. We put the bat on the ball and they made some errors. It’s something that we gotta keep doing.”

Samantha “Sammy” Hall (15) swings through the pitch. | Ross Burton

Light, who worked a complete game, struck out 12 Bengals and kept her Region V-5A opponents guessing for most of the game. After a bumpy first inning when she threw over 30 pitches and Blythewood (9-4 overall, 2-2) scored two runs, Light was, so to speak, lights-out.

The right-hander got out of a two-baserunner jam in the second, then struck out the side in the third and fourth innings.

“She had like 16 strikeouts in a game last week,” Atkinson said. “Our goal was to make her defense work. To make her have to pitch, go into long at-bats. Take her deep in the count and hit her mistakes.”

Sure enough, Light threw nine pitches to leadoff batter Savannah Simpson before Simpson knocked a base hit to get the game rolling. Babbitt followed up with an infield hit. After Grace Campbell grounded out, Kendall Parker singled in Taelor Fulmore, pinch-running for Simpson.

Hall struck out for the second out, but Kailie Shannon singled in Babbitt to make it 2-0 Blythewood.

Light struck out Calley Baucom to retire the side, and Lexington evened the score with one swing of the bat.

In the top of the second, Samantha Montgomery smacked a 1-out, 2-run home run over the fence in left centerfield.

The Wildcats got another run in the third to take a 3-2 lead.

While Light struck out two batters in the fifth, Blythewood finally caught a break. Light issued her only walk of the night to Simpson, the leadoff batter in the inning.

After Babbitt went down on strikes for the first out, Grace Campbell punched the first pitch to the right field wall to drive Simpson in to tie the game at 3.
Campbell made it to third for a triple, but Parker went down swinging and Hall grounded out to retire the side.

Parker, the Blythewood starter who got the win, pitched four scoreless innings after the third. She gave up six hits in the first three innings but only one hit for the rest of the game.

Parker’s late-inning pitching enabled the Bengals to get a strong chance to break the game open in the sixth.

Baucom started things off with a one-out single, Haley McCoy reached on a throwing error, and Anna Fridriksson got an infield hit when her tapper down the third base line stayed fair.

With the bases loaded and one out, however, Light struck out Simpson. Babbitt chopped a ball down the first base line, and it bounced over and in front of Babbitt as she ran to first. The plate umpire called her out to retire the side and strand all three Blythewood baserunners.

Lexington got a runner aboard in the top of the seventh when Savannah Shannon singled, but the next three Wildcats in the lineup grounded out to leave the score tied at 3.

That set up the late-inning heroics of Hall and Babbitt in the seventh. Atkinson said she told the Bengals to keep the bats swinging in getting ready for the final inning.

“Just relax and keep on what we’re doing,” Atkinson said. “We’ve seen a lot of pitches, and hit the ball on the ground. We had very few popups today.”

Blythewood plays at White Knoll Friday and at River Bluff Monday.

 LHS – 0-2-1-0-0-0-0 –3-7-2

BHS – 2-0-0-0-1-0-1 – 4-1-0- 3

WP: Kendall Parker  LP: Allie Light

HITTERSLHS – Jan Fleming 3-4. Samantha Montgomery HR, 2BI. Sarah Gordon 2B, BI. BHS – Grace Campbell 2-3, 3B, BI. Emily Babbitt 2-4. Sammy Call, GWRBI.

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