A year ago, Brookland-Cayce lost out to Midland Valley in the region pennant race, and found itself relegated to the same Class 3A softball playoff district foursome as defending state champion St. James.
This time around, the Bearcats again lost out in the scramble for a No. 1 playoff seed to Midland Valley in Region 5-3A, courtesy of two 1-0 loss to the Mustangs, and find themselves in the same district as the reigning champs – Darlington.
The handicap did not hamper B-C last season. The Bearcats came out of the loser’s bracket to beat St. James in a doubleheader to win the district title and advance to the Lower State championship series. Stay tuned.
Richard Lundy’s veteran team is 20-6 and ranked No. 2 behind Midland Valley. Darlington (15-4) is No. 6 in the final regular-season rankings. The Bearcats began the quest for another long playoff stay at home Thursday against Crestwood in a first-round District VI contest.
No question, B-C has the talent and experience to make a run at a state title. But, as the two painful losses to Midland Valley underscore, flawless execution is a must to advance in such a highly competitive atmosphere. Chandler Terrapin (15-6, 0.49 ERA, 206) is one of the best pitchers in the state, but will have to have a little more offensive help than she’s received in previous outings against high-level foes. The pressure will fall on the likes of playoff veterans Casey Corbett (.318, 20 RBIs), Ashlyn Hicks (.325, 19 runs), Alex White (.500, 21 runs, 31 RBIs) and Marquitta Wilson (.342, 15 runs, 16 RBIs). Terrapin has excelled in her first season of full hitting duty, batting .435 with 11 RBIs and seven doubled in the leadoff spot in the order.
Ironically, Darlington draws perhaps the toughest No. 4 seed in all of 3A – Swansea. The Tigers tied Airport for third place, and dropped to a No. 4 seed by losing 7-0 to the Eagles in a tie-breaking game last week. But ace pitcher Marisa Oldaker give the young, senior-less Tigers a chance to win against any team. Consider, seven of Swansea’s 11 losses have either come by one run or in extra innings. The Tigers dropped one-run games to 4A North Augusta and Blythewood, a 2-1 decision a Midland Valley in 5-3A and a 5-1 verdict in nine innings to the Mustangs in the second meeting.
Elsewhere, Chapin (18-3) went 10-0 on the way to the Region 4-3A championship and is on a serious roll entering the playoffs. The Eagles have won 15 in a row since a loss to an out-of-state team at Lexington’s Wildcat Invitational tournament on March 21. Pitchers Taylor Morgan and Brittany Barr have been key elements in Chapin’s big move this season. Barr, a junior, is also the team’s leading hitter.
The Eagles host Clinton on Thursday in the first round of the District IV tournament.
Lugoff-Elgin (12-4), A.C. Flora (9-3), Camden and Airport (10-13) are the other area entries. L-E opens at home against Chapman in District III. Flora visits Union County for its District IV opener and could face Chapin again down the road. Airport’s tie-breaking win over Swansea allowed the Eagles to at least have a shorter road trip in the first round. The Eagles play at Camden, the second-place team behind Darlington in Region 6-3A, in District V.