Blythewood squeezed past Nation Ford, 1-0, at home on Monday, a school-record 24th win that earned it a spot in the Class 4A District 4 title series.
Blythewood’s tough defense held off the Falcons. Blythewood pitcher Katie Chappell (15-4) drove in the only run in the bottom of the first inning.
“We were fortunate to be able to do the right things to make it stand,” coach Bucky Ware said. Ware said the Bengals challenged themselves to play a clean defensive game after a handful of errors in their Friday loss to Byrnes dropped them into the elimination bracket.
Playing for the chance to face Byrnes again, the Bengals got outstanding fielding from shortstop Ansley Gilstrap and first baseman Jessica Roth, as well as a strong outfield performance.
“The diving and the effort is always there and we expect them to make the plays we need to get the job done,” Ware said.
Chappell said the Bengals grew more confident with their defense as the game went on, even as the Falcons threatened.
“My job is to throw strikes, but I know when the ball gets put into play that they are going to get the job done,” said Chappell, who struck out three.
In the first inning, Roth tripled to right and Chappell followed with a single to center. Roth had three of the Bengals’ seven hits, including a double, and made a fine catch of a foul ball in the second.
The Bengals gave up six hits, but gave the Falcons no room to run.
Nation Ford played strong defense for six innings, as well.
“We left a few people on base, they left a few people on base and it was just a great high school softball game,” Ware said.
But it was not entirely the performance Blythewood hopes to see on Wednesday at Byrnes.
“We’re going to have to score more than one run, but if we can hold them to zero, that’s what we want to do,” Ware said.
Blythewood must defeat Byrnes twice to advance to the Upper State tournament. The first game is slated for 5:30 p.m.