Bengals bounce back against Nations Ford

Savannah Coyne (3) takes a cut in last Thursday’s game against Nations Ford. | Ross Burton

BLYTHEWOOD – Once again, Nations Ford took an early lead on the Blythewood softball team in the 5A District IV Tournament. And once again, the Bengals rallied for a victory.

Bookending a disappointing 18-0 loss to red-hot Byrnes in the tournament Saturday, Blythewood overcame a 4-1 deficit on the Falcons last Thursday to win 8-5.

On Monday, Blythewood fell behind 2-0 in the first inning but scored 12 unanswered runs to rout the Falcons 12-2 in six innings.

“It was a big adjustment, a big difference in speed,” said Blythewood head coach Jordan Atkinson in comparing Monday night with Saturday’s result in Spartanburg. “I knew that would be the hardest thing to get our bats going.”

Blythewood (12-9-1), seeded second in the tournament, hits the road to play top-seeded Byrnes Wednesday at 6 p.m.  The Rebels 1-hit the Bengals in a 5-inning, 18-0 victory. Byrnes has outscored its two opponents 39-0 in just nine inning s of tournament action.

Atkinson knows the odds are long, considering Blythewood comes out of the losers’ bracket of the tournament and has to beat Byrnes twice. Even if the score may not indicate the real result, Atkinson said she’s confident that the Bengals will play hard and look for every opportunity to cross the plate.

“Seeing them that one time, our younger girls were very intimidated, very scared,” Atkinson said of playing the Rebels. “But now we’ve been there once. We know there’s nothing to lose now. I think they’ll play better.”

Last week, Nations Ford built a 4-1 lead, but Hannah Black and Emily Babbitt erased it with two swings of the bat.

Black and Babbitt connected for back-to-back two-out, two-run doubles that gave the Bengals a 5-4 lead. They won 8-5.

On Monday, Nations Ford got on the scoreboard with Ameya Hush’s 2-run bases-loaded single with nobody out. Blythewood starting pitcher Kendall Parker shook that hit off and went the rest of the way in the circle. She scattered six hits and walked one in six full innings of work.

The Bengals got on the scoreboard when Kalei Swanier scored on a wild pitch as Grace Campbell batted with one out in the bottom of the third inning. Campbell and Parker both popped out in the infield to retire the side.

The Bengals cashed in on four runs in the fourth. Kailey Shannon led off with a walk. Taelor Fulmore, Shannon’s courtesy runner, moved to second on Amanda Fridricksson’s sacrifice bunt. Falcons’ pitcher Mackenzie Gaston hit Haley McCoy to put runners on first and second for Lauren Hardy. Hardy doubled to left to score Fulmore to tie the game at 2 and put runners at second and third. Emily Babbitt walked to load the bases.

Savannah Coyne drew a walk to score McCoy, and Grace Campbell’s 2-out, 2-run single scored Hardy and Babbitt.

Parker struck out to end the inning, but she kept her poise on the mound enough for the Bengals to score six runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth when the game was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Thursday: Blythewood 8, Nations Ford 5

NFHS – 0-1-2-1-1-0-0 – 5, 10, 1

BHS – 0-0-1-4-1-2-X – 8, 8, 4

WP: Kendall Parker LP: Madison Arnold

HITTERS: NFHS – Janelle Ilacqua 2-4, Olivia Southerly 2-4, 2B. Rebecca Kerley 2-4, 2B. BHS – Emily Babbitt 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI. Hannah Black 2B. Kendall Parker 2B.

Saturday: Byrnes 18, Blythewood 0

Blythewood – 0-0-0-0-0 – 0, 1, 3

Byrnes – 2-6-5-5-X – 18, 18, 0

WP: K. Widmyer LP: Kendall Parker

HITTERS: Byrnes – Mattas 4-4, HR (2), 2B. Widmyer 3-4, HR. Whitesides 2-3, 3B. Fowler 2-3, 2B. Bradley 2-4, 2B. Taylor 2-3.

Monday: Blythewood 12, Nations Ford 2

NFHS – 2-0-0-0-0-0 – 2, 6, 0

BHS – 0-0-1-4-6-1 – 12, 10, 3

WP: Kendall Parker LP: Mackenzie Gaston

HITTERS: NFHS– Ameya Hush 2-3. BHS – Emily Babbitt 3-3, 2B, 2 RBI.  Lauren Hardy 2-3, 2B. Kalei Swanier 2-3. Haley McCoy 2-2. Kendall Parker 2B. Grace Campbell 3 RBI.