Wednesday, May 7, 2014
By Scott Rodgers
NORTH AUGUSTA — Fox Creek’s softball team found itself in an unfamiliar situation. With their ace ailing, and no momentum on their side, the Predators were more lucky than good in their extra-inning win over Whitmire for the District IV championship in the Class A playoffs.
Fox Creek (20-6) was able to finally put away Whitmire in the ninth inning on a flare shot by third baseman Harley Muniz. The ball was playable but dropped by Whitmire’s shortstop, giving Morgan Matthews enough time to scamper home from third and clinch the victory.
“My heart dropped, I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t feel my legs,” Muniz said. “I was watching (Matthews’) face and I saw her scream and it made me so happy.”
The Predators scratched two runs in the first inning, with a Jada Simpson double scoring Betty Vignati and a Matthews single to score Simpson. However, the Wolverines hung tough and got a run in the second on a hit by Megan Owens that scored Rebecca Glymph. Fox Creek responded with another run in the second inning after Christy Buist scored on a single by Emily Lingerfelt.
Whitmire would get a run in the fifth on a bunt by Owens and a throwing error scoring Zaviea Sanders. In the sixth inning Sanders singled home Alexis Swain and the wind was taken out of Fox Creek’s sails.
The Wolverines loaded the bases in the seventh with one out, but were unable to come away with anything. In the ninth the Wolverines had what would have been the game winning run, but interference was called on a base runner after bumping into Vignati.
“Whitmire is gutsy,” said David Bell, Fox Creek’s head coach. “They wouldn’t quit. They wouldn’t go away. They kept coming back and coming back. We got a couple of good calls, first time I think that’s went our way all year. Finally we got one going our way at the right time and that set us up to win the game. I hate those kind of calls, but you can’t run into a player when she is trying to field the ball.”
Lingerfelt, the team’s No. 9 hitter, led the Predators with two hits on the day. Bell said that the win was a confidence booster for his club. In particular Simpson, his ace pitcher, who held down the Wolverines despite suffering from the flu. She only had two strikeouts, but the biggest of which got her out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning.
“She just keeps coming at you,” Bell said. “She kept it tight. Hannah Culpepper at second base as well. Oh my gosh, that backhanded play up the middle and some of the other plays she made, she played like a junior leader today.”
Fox Creek’s next matchup will be at Lewisville on Saturday. Time is yet to be determined.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.
WM 010 011 000 – 3
FC 210 000 001 – 4
WP: Jada Simpson (3-0)
LP: Mackenzie Reel (2-2)