Brookland-Cayce opens the Class 3A state softball championship series tonight in Greenville against J.L. Mann. It will be the first-ever meeting of the Bearcats and Patriots.
B-C (27-8) advanced to the best-of-three finale for the first time since 2005 by surviving a tense, doubleheader struggle with archrival Midland Valley in the Lower State finale on Friday. The Beartcats dropped a 4-3 decision to the Mustangs in the opener that forced a decisive second game, but prevailed 1-0 in the decisive nightcap as Chandler Terrapin tossed a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and belted a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning for the only run of the game.
Ironically, B-C dropped two 1-0 decisions to Midland Valley during the Region 5-3A season. The teams split six games this season, but B-C ended up with a telling 2-1 edge over the Mustangs in the Upper State championship tournament.
This is the seventh trip to the state title series for the Bearcats since 1998. B-C has three championship trophies on display – 1998, 2000 and 2002.
J.L. Mann, meanwhile, is a team on a mission. The Patriots, who have yet to falter in six postseason games, won their third straight Upper State champion by downing Region 2-3A rival Blue Ridge in the finale on Friday. Mann is still looking for its first state triumph. The Pats fell to St. James in 2007, and to Darlington last year.
Mann is led by sophomore Leslie Jury and junior Hannah Pace. Jury, a dominant left-hander, is the primary pitcher, but Pace works in the circle, as well. When Jury is pitching, Pace is behind the plate in her catching role.
The second game of the series will be Wednesday at Brookland-Cayce where one team will have the chance to wrap up a state championship season.
B-C enters the last leg of the postseason marathon with a .304 team batting average and a 0.77 team ERA. Terrapin has contributed heavily in both categories. The freshman star is 22-8 in the circle with a 0.57 ERA. She has 279 strikeouts in 208 innings of work, and allowed just 100 hits. At the plate, Terrapin is batting .431 with 18 RBIs, nine doubles, two triples and five home runs.
The rest of the Bearcats’ offensive standouts include Alex White (.440, 23 runs, 33 RBIs, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers), Marquitta Wilson (.321, 17 runs, 19 RBIs), Casey Corbitt (.302, 15 runs, 24 RBIs, 7 doubles) and Ashlyn Hicks (.296, 24 runs, 10 RBIs).
Corbitt and Wilson are the anchor players of the infield defense at shortstop and second base, respectively.
Late-season call-ups Caroline Reid and Brooke Lucas, two seventh graders who spent most of the season on the junior varsity, have played key roles during the playoff runs. Reid is hitting .371 with six runs and four RBIs in35 varsity at bats, while Lucas is hitting .296 in 19 at bats.