Bengals hitting stride going into spring break

Blythewood seniors Neilah Browne (4), Josie Smythe (27) and Kaiylyn Anderson (14) were honored prior to Thursday’s game against Rock Hill. | Photo: Blythewood Softball/Facebook

BLYTHEWOOD – Coming off a 20-0, 4-inning victory over Region 3-5A rival Spring Valley, the Blythewood softball team finds itself close to the top of the region standings.

The Bengals (7-2, 3-1) are second behind Nation Ford, with their only loss coming from a 3-2 tilt at Clover March 19. Since that game Blythewood beat Rock Hill 14-4 Thursday and dismissed the Vikings (4-4, 1-3).

“We outhit Clover, we just didn’t get the runners in,” head coach Jordan Atkinson said. “We’ve lost one to the defending state 4A state champion by two runs, we were in it (a 6-4 loss at Catawba Ridge Feb. 24). We feel like we can compete with anybody.”

The Bengals lost four seniors from last year in which they reached the championship game of the District 2 tournament before falling to Lexington. This year seven seasoned teammates return: Neilah Browne, Raygan Segars, Makalah Ford, Ashley Duncan, Maya Van Zyl, and Josie Smythe.

Several new faces join those seven to form a team that has shown itself to bring good pitching into the circle and great hitting at the plate.

“We’re super excited,” Atkinson said. “We’ve got five new players that we felt could contribute and they have. They play well together, they enjoy each other. We feel like we can roll out a good lineup every single night, and we can go hit with and battle the best teams out there.”

Among the new faces are Lily Zell, who picked up the Bengals last two wins. Against Rock Hill she scattered nine hits and gave up four runs, but struck out six in five innings of work. At Spring Valley, she faced just 12 batters, gave up no hits or walks, and struck out six.  Zell was also 4-for-4 at the plate and batted in two runs. Other new players include Raygan Segars, who was 2-for-4 with 4 RBI at Spring Valley, and Keeley Hughes, who was 2-for-3 and batted in two runs against Rock Hill.

Meanwhile veterans Van Zyl, Smythe, and Ford have delivered big hits when needed. Van Zyl was 3-for-3 with a home run and 5 RBI against the Bearcats, then hit two doubles and drove in five runs at the Vikings. Ford homered and drove in two runs, and Smythe doubled against Rock Hill, and Ford had two hits and three RBI at Spring Valley.

Before heading into spring break, Blythewood heads to Fort Mill tonight, then head to Aiken Saturday for a 3-game tournament Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to five games for the rest of this week,” Atkinson said.


Rock Hill – 0-1-2-1-0-X-X – 4, 9, 5

Blythewood – 3-3-0-5-3-X-X – 14, 12, 2

WP: Lily Zell

Hitters: R – Alyssa T 2-3, 2B. Madelyn C 2-3. Malaya C 2-3, 2 RBI. B – Maya Van Zyl 3-3, HR, 5 RBI. Josie Smythe 2-4, 2B. Keeley Hughes 2-3, 2 RBI. Makalah Ford 2-4, HR, 2 RBI.


Blythewood – 0-1-11-8-X-X-X – 20, 11, 0

Spring Valley – 0-0-0-0-X-X-X – 0, 0, 1

WP: Lily Zell

Hitters: B – Lily Zell 4-4, 2 RBI. Raygan Segars 2-4, 4 RBI. Makalah Ford 2-3, 3 RBI. Maya Van Zyl 2-3, 2B (2), 5 RBI.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]