South Stokes girls softball team hasn’t seen the third round of the state playoffs since the 2009 season, but coach Rick McHone and the Lady Sauras kept advancing after big wins over West Lincoln and Polk County this week.
“We’ve played really well,” McHone said. “We’re a better team right now in the playoffs than we have been all year. The whole team is stepping up at the right time and I like our chances against anyone with the way we have been playing.”
On Tuesday, May 9 the Sauras traveled to West Lincoln, the 2A state runner-up last year, and won 6-5 in eight innings over the Rebels.
South jumped out to an early lead on Autumn Miller’s homerun in the second inning and then added three more runs in the third inning on five consecutive hits by Anna McKenzie, Destiny Agee, Lydia Jackson, Katie Manring, and Miller to lead 4-0 going to the bottom of the third.
The Wolves plated a run in the third inning, but Saura Reagan Badgett held West Lincoln at bay over the next three innings with no runs.
South added a run in the sixth inning when Manring doubled and then scored on a ground out for a 5-1 lead going into the seventh.
In the seventh inning, the Sauras defense bent and allowed West Lincoln to battle back and knot the game at five by pushing four runs across the plate sending the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eight, with one out, Miller stepped to the plate and hit her second homerun of the game giving South the lead back and ultimately winning the game.
“Autumn probably had one of her best, if not the best, game as a Saura player,” commented McHone. “She had two homeruns, hit one off the wall, and made some huge defensive plays for us. She really came through.”
On Thursday, South traveled over three hours away and played Polk County High School in a 9-1 game.
The Sauras pounded out 15 hits and scored three runs in the top of the first and six runs in the sixth inning to close out the win and advance to the third round of the state 2A playoffs and face the winner of the Forbush/Draughn game next Tuesday.
Badgett pitched both games and earned the wins on the mound.
“Reagan has been really good for us,” said McHone. “If she is on and pitching well like she has been, I feel we can beat anybody. This whole team is believing right now and that is what it takes to win. You have to believe.”
Editor’s note: South Stokes fell 5-1 in the third round at Draughn H.S. against the Wildcats on Tuesday night ending their season at 14-13. Score was reported at press deadline.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.