Blythewood softball season comes to end with 6-3 loss to Clover

MAULDIN – The Blythewood softball team’s postseason was short and swift. After winning the Region 4-5A championship and earning a top seed in the District 2 upper state tournament, the Bengals fell 10-0 to Mauldin Friday, then fell 6-3 to Clover Monday in the elimination game.

“It really hurts when you get a leadoff double and don’t score, get a runner at third with one out and don’t score, but we fought, we competed,” Blythewood head coach Jordan Atkinson said. “After our game against Mauldin, that’s what I asked of the kids. I said ‘let’s put the ball in play and good things will happen. We competed, but we made a few errors on defense that hurt, but overall I felt like we gave ourselves a chance at the end.”

Going from sitting in the catbird seat with a top seed and an avenue to the upper state championship to sitting at home next week was a real letdown for the team and for Atkinson, she said.

“When you win your region, you’re at home, you’re where you want to be,” Atkinson said. “It hurts even worse when you don’t come through at home in two games.”

Blythewood (14-5) had made no chances on Friday. Mavericks’ pitcher Kendall Thackston pitched a complete 6-inning game, giving up just two hits to Anna Fridriksson and no-hitting the rest of the Bengals. She struck out 13 and walked two.

Blythewood pitcher Lauren Hardy, who was in the circle for both games, also pitched six innings and gave up six hits. She struck out three but walked eight.

Mauldin got a run in the first inning, two runs in the third, three in the fifth and four in the sixth to close the game on the 10-run mercy rule.

The loss to Mauldin set up the Bengals’ loser’s bracket game with the Blue Eagles, who fell 10-1 at Byrnes Friday. Clover took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with Jenna Venturelli’s solo home run.

Hardy struck out the first two batters she faced in the top of the second, but Sam Chavis singled, Brie Berry reached base on a dropped third strike, and Hardy walked Amelia Mason to load the bases.

With Logan MacNeil batting, Chavis’ courtesy runner scored on a wild pitch. Mason’s courtesy runner and Berry scored when MacNeil reached on an infield error.

Hardy got out of the inning by getting Emily Wodecki to pop out.

Blythewood got two runs back in the bottom of the third. Kalei Swanier got things started with a 2-out triple. She scored on Anna Fridriksson’s double to leftfield. Fridriksson scored on Josie Smythe’s bloop single to short center. Hardy’s popout ended the inning.

Clover took a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth, when Chavis drove in Abbie Wellborn with a 2-out single. As Berry batted, catcher Maya Van Zyl nabbed Chavis as she tried to steal second. Fridriksson laid the tag on Chavis to get out of the inning.

Blythewood tried to rally again when Mason led off the bottom half of the sixth with a single and Hardy’s one-out double drove her home. Van Zyl grounded out and Haley McCoy struck out to cut that rally short.

After the Blue Eagles got their final run in the top the seventh, the Bengals went down in order to close out the game, and the season.

There’s hope for next year though.

“We return our pitching staff, we return our whole battery,” Atkinson said. “We return our corners. We do lose two outfielders, but this year we felt like we were pretty deep and had a deep bench. Our JV team had a great season, so we feel like we’ve got some kids who can plug in some of those holes and keep going.”

Friday

Mauldin   – 1-0-2-0-3-4-X – 10, 6, 0

Blythewood -0-0-1-0-0-0-X – 0, 2, 3

WP: Kendall Thackston. LP: Lauren Hardy.

Hitters: M – Virginia Bishop 4-4, 2B. B – Anna Fridriksson 2-3.

Monday

Clover – 1-3-0-0-1-0-0 – 6, 7, 0

Blythewood – 0-0-2-0-0-1-0 – 3, 6, 3

WP: Amelia Mason. LP: Lauren Hardy.

Hitters: NF – Jenna Venturelli 2-4, HR. Sam Chavis 2-3. B –Anna Fridriksson 2-3, 2B. Lauren Hardy 2-3, 2B (2).

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