Seven Midlands teams are shooting for state playoff glory tonight.
White Knoll, Brookland-Cayce, Chapin and Sumter are hosting district championship games, needing just one win to move on to the Elite Eight phase of the playoffs. Blythewood, Airport, Lexington, Gilbert and Mid-Carolina, on the other hand, face the challenge of having to sweep doubleheaders to thwart elimination.
4A District 5: South Florence at White Knoll
The Timberwolves, 26-2 and ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, face traditional powerhouse South Florence for the second game in a row. WK blanked the Bruins 4-0 in the semifinal game on Saturday behind the one-hit pitching of Kaylin White and key offensive production by Meagan Helms.
White Knoll is looking to nail down its second straight and fifth overall district championship. Getting to the state championship series for the first time is the ultimate goal.
3A District 5: Crestwood at Brookland-Cayce
The Bearcats, 26-3 and ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, takes on a Crestwood team that entered as a No. 4 seed, but has made program history by advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time.
B-C opened the playoffs with a 5-0 win over Crestwood. The Bearcats broke open a scoreless battle with four runs in the fourth inning, courtesy of RBI hits by M.C. Smith, Alex White and Holly Helms and a sacrifice fly by Ashlyn Hicks, who was finally cleared to return to her familiar catcher role in the field.
The Bearcats dumped Camden 10-0 in the semifinal round, scoring eight runs in the first inning after the first two B-C hitters were retired. The fireworks began and ended with a home run by Chandler Terrapin. The sophomore start got things rolling with a solo shot in her first at bat, and she ended the surge with a grand slam.
In the circle, Terrapin has yet to allow a playoff run. She tossed a two-hitter with nine strikeouts vs. Crestwood.
4A District 8: Summerville at Sumter
The Gamecocks (19-8-1) have been hot since their own Grand Slam tournament, winning eight in a row. Sumter, the No. 2 seed in District 8, needs just one win over Region 8 champion Summerville to make the Elite Eight cut for only the second time in the past decade.
Sumter gained the upper hand in the district by beating the Green Wave 2-1 in Saturday’s 10-inning semifinal thriller in Summerville. Sutton Watson scattered nine hits and fanned 11 to get the win, and Emily Whetsel and Courtney Buckner accounted for the Gamecock runs with RBI hits.
Whetsel’s hit scored the first run of the game in the top of the ninth inning. Summerville countered in the bottom of the ninth to extend the game. Buckner delivered the game winner in the 10th, scoring Erin Cook.
3A District 4: Chapman at Chapin
Chapin (23-4) is shooting for its second straight district championship under coach Jason Jolley.
The Eagles beat Chapman 4-2 in semifinal play on Saturday, but needed two outstanding outfield catches by Lauren Barton and Taylor Matthews to survive. Whitley Martin’s two-run double and Taylor Morgan two-run homer in the third inning accounted for the Chapin runs. Brittany Barr went four innings in the circle to get the win, but needed relief help from Morgan, who pitched three shutout innings to pick up her fifth save of the season.
Chapin nipped Riverside 3-2 in the opening round. Morgan allowed four hits and struck out 11, and Barr’s solo home run on an 0-2 pitch in the top of the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie.
4A District 4: Blythewood at Boiling Springs
Blythewood survived a major scare against Fort Mill in an elimination game on Tuesday. The Bengals blew a 3-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning, but rated a rematch with Boiling Spring when Hillary Stewart ripped a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.
Blythewood must win two games tonight to earn the second Elite Eight invitational in school history. The Bengals put themselves in the unenviable position by having a defensive meltdown in a 12-6 loss to Boiling Springs at home on Saturday. Blythewood was cruising with a 5-0 entering the top of the sixth inning, but errors helped the Bulldogs scored nine runs to seize the momentum. In all, Bengal errors led to nine unearned runs. Tiffany Harris belted a two-run home run and Stewart had a solo shot on the way to the 5-0 lead.
3A District 6: Airport at Darlington
Region 5 co-champion Airport, which stayed alive with an 8-7 win over Marlboro County, hopes to have better luck against Darlington pitcher Sarah Hardee this time around.
Hardee retired all 27 Eagles she faced, striking out eight in the Falcons 1-0 semifinal win. Airport pitcher Lauren Phillips was outstanding, as well. The senior right-hander allowed just four hits and fanned eight in the tough-luck loss.
Region 6 champion Darlington enters with an 18-3 record, while the Eagles stand at 19-5.
Airport’s elimination game on Monday vs. Marlboro County was suspended after six innings and the scored tie at 7-7. On Tuesday, the Eagles won it in their first turn on Whitney Brown’s RBI single.