Blythewood softball eliminated from 5A state playoffs

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood softball team rallied back into its elimination game in the District 4 tournament against Nation Ford Monday night, to the point where the Bengals had the tying run at first base with two out.

After Josie Smythe singled to right field, Maya Van Zyl came up to the plate. She connected hard with a Kailey Alston pitch, but it wasn’t far enough.

The ball landed in Falcons leftfielder Emma Skovran’s glove and Blythewood’s season ended with a 5-4 loss to Nation Ford.

“It’s tough, just short,” head coach Jordan Atkinson said. “We were just talking about how a lot of runs in the playoffs came off of home runs (14 of the team’s 15 runs in the tournament). If you’re living and dying by the home run ball, while they’re great, it doesn’t count for many long rallies. The difference is stringing base hits together and getting those long rallies.”

Even so, the Bengals came close to pulling out a win.

Down 4-0 at one point, Blythewood (17-8) clawed its way back into the game. A third inning 2-run home run from Haley McCoy cut the lead to 4-2, but Nation Ford got its fifth run in the fourth inning.

Alston and the Falcons defense held the Bengals scoreless from the fourth through sixth innings, but in the seventh, Blythewood knew it needed some hits and runs.

Leadoff batter Kylie Sanders took a 1-1 pitch to right field for a single. Then, Lauren Hardy’s first-pitch 2-run shot to leftfield got the Bengals to within 5-4 with nobody out.

Alston shook off Hardy’s homer to strike out I’yanna Velez and Haley McCoy, but Smythe’s single brought the Blythewood crowd back to its feet.

Unfortunately, the Bengals season ended on a fly-out.

Even so, the Bengals did one better than last year—winning a playoff game.

The Bengals opened the District 4 tournament on a solid note May 4, blanking Nation Ford 7-0. They did so on the strength of home runs from Hardy, McCoy, and Maddi Bell.

Blythewood fell into the losers’ bracket with a 13-3 loss to Dorman Friday, which set up Monday’s game.

“Overall our goal for the season was to go longer, and we did,” Atkinson said. “We’ve won the region title 11 times and only one time have we gotten out of our district. That’s our goal now, to take that next step as a program and get out of the district. It’s tough but we have the talent to do it. It’s just getting it done.”

The Bengals lose three seniors, but return eight out of nine starters next season.

“Our JV and B team was very successful this season, so we’re excited about what’s coming up. We’re also going to be moving in a more competitive region, so it’ll be good for us.”

Blythewood will be in Region 3-5A beginning in the fall, along with Clover, Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Rock Hill and Spring Valley.

Nation Ford moves on to play at Dorman Friday.

Monday

Nation Ford – 2-2-0-1-0-0-0 — 5, 10, 0

Blythewood – 0-0-2-0-0-0-2  —   4, 10, 1

WP: Kailey Alston. LP: Lauren Hardy.

Hitters: N – Ava Scheier 2-2, HR, 2 RBI. Rachel Studer 2-3. Abigail Loser 2B. B – Lauren Hardy 2-4, HR 2 RBI. Haley McCoy 2-4, HR, 2 RBI. Kylie Sanders 2-3. Raygan Segars 2B.

Saturday

Dorman – 4-2-0-4-0-1-2 — 13, 10, 0

Blythewood – 2-0-0-0-1-0-0  — 3, 4, 5

WP: Kasey Wolfe. LP: Lauren Hardy.

Hitters: D – Carson McCowan 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI. Lydia Johnson 2-5, Kasey Wolfe 2-4, 2B. B – Lauren Hardy HR. Josie Smythe HR, 2 RBI.

Wednesday, May 4

Nation Ford – 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 — 0, 4, 1

Blythewood – 0-0-2-0-3-2-X — 7, 9, 0

WP: Lauren Hardy. LP: Kailey Alston.

Hitters: B – Lauren Hardy 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI. Haley McCoy 2-2, HR, 2 RBI. Maddi Bell HR, 2 RBI. Maya Van Zyl 2B.

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