WHS softball wins 4A playoff opener

BLYTHEWOOD – A couple of firsts, and one continued winning streak came about at the Westwood softball stadium Tuesday night.

The Redhawks’ 10-0, 5-inning victory over Lucy Beckham marked the first time Westwood softball opened the 4A playoffs at home.

For Makayla Drakeford, her fourth-inning 2-run blast marked her first home run of the season, on top of pitching five innings of no-hit ball with 11 strikeouts.

And for Westwood, the Redhawks (15-5-1) extended their winning streak to nine games.“Hitting, no doubt,” head coach James Edmunson said about the major factor in the team’s win streak. “And when your pitcher throws a no-hitter through five and hits a home run herself, some good things are going to happen. It’s going to get tougher Thursday though, we’ve got to batten down the hatches.”

Seventh-seeded Westwood travels to No.2 West Florence today for the second round. The Knights beat No.15 Bluffton 8-2 Tuesday.

No.10 Lucy Beckham plays host to the Bobcats today in the losers bracket.

Westwood and the Bengals went two scoreless innings before the Redhawks came up with three runs on two hits in the third. Lucy Beckham pitcher Lauren Bas stuck out Izzy Ridgeway and Olivia Burroughs in the middle of the Westwood lineup to get out of the jam.

Bas didn’t escape the fourth inning. Marguerite Ridgeway opened the inning reaching base on an error, and then Drakeford went deep on a 2-2 pitch to center field to make it 5-0 Redhawks.

“I’ve been trying to get one all season,” Drakeford said about her drive. “It was one of my goals.”

Westwood scored six in the fourth on four hits, one Lucy Beckham error, and two walks. They picked up their tenth run in the fifth; the game ended on the 10-run mercy rule.

Azaria Belton went 4-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI to lead Westwood. Jada McConnell went 2-for-3 and Izzy Ridgeway drove in two runs.

“You’ve got to think about what you can do for the team,” Belton said about hitting and driving in runs. “You’ve got to see where the people are in the field to see where you can hit it and get your teammates in.”

The stakes are raised against the region 6-4A champion Knights (14-8) today, but the Redhawks hope to continue their postseason for as long as possible.

“I like being in the playoffs,” Drakeford said. “We’ve known each other for a very long time. We have group talks and everybody has their number. We all talk it out and that’s how we’ve gotten better.”

LUCY BECKHAM – 0-0-0-0-0-X-X – 0, 2, 2

WESTWOOD – 0-0-3-6-1-X-X – 10, 9, 0

WP: Makayla Drakeford.

W: Azaria Belton 4-4, 2B, 3 RBI. Jada McConnell 2-3. Makayla Drakeford HR, 2 RBI. Izzy Ridgeway 2 RBI.

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