Gilbert claimed the Region 3-2A softball championship with a 1-0 win Friday at Batesburg-Leesville behind the stellar pitching of Leigha Hite. The senior right-hander beat the Panthers for the second time in three outings this season, spinning a nifty five-hitter with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.
The Indians posted the only run of the game in their first turn against B-L ace Victoria Gunter. Jasmine Strother led off the game with a single, but was forced out on a fielder’s choice ground off the bat of Victoria Burkett. Courtney Frye then bunted Burkett into scoring position at second base. After Hite drew a free pass, Indians DP Andi Kitchens delivered a run-scoring hit.
The host Panthers had a great scoring opportunity in the bottom of the second, but failed to score after loading the bases with one out. Hite was in absolute command the rest of the way.
Gunter served up eight Gilbert hits, had eight strikeouts and issued one walk in her second hard-luck loss to the Tribe this season.
Gilbert, which finished with a 9-2 region record, enters the District 3 playoff next Thursday as the No. 1 seed against the No. 4 team out of Region 4-2A. The Indians (10-7 overall) have regular-season dates left with Cardinal Newman on Monday and Swansea on Tuesday.
Batesburg-Leesville (11-7, 8-3) is off until the start of the District 2 playoffs. The Panthers host the No. 3 seed from Region 4 in the April 30 opener.