Behind the dominant pitching of Taylor Morgan, Chapin opened the Region 5-3A season with a 1-0 win over Brookland-Cayce on Tuesday night at The Back Forty in an early season showdown between the top two ranked teams in Class 3A softball.
Morgan surrendered just one hit and struck out 18 Bearcats in the scintillating performance that allowed the second-ranked Eagles to improve to 5-1 in the early going. It was the season opener for B-C.
The bottom line: Morgan out-dueled Bearcats junior ace Chandler Terrapin.
“With the quality of the two pitchers tonight, you just knew it was going to be a 1-0 or a 2-1 game,” said Chapin coach Jason Jolley.
“Taylor was just great, especially considering she is still recovering from bronchitis. Any time she’s in that circle, we have a chance to beat anybody in the state of South Carolina. With all those strikeouts, it was almost like nap time most of the game, but I kept telling the girls (in the field) that somebody at some point is going to have to make a play behind Taylor and Alex Warren made it.”
Morgan was tiring some in the seventh inning, issuing a walk to Asia Benn after fanning B-C cleanup hitter Brooke Lucas to open the inning. Benn moved up to second base on a passed ball, and went on to third on a wild pitch while Morgan was in the process of fanning Chelsea Lee for the second out.
With the equalizer just 60 feet away, the Bearcats knew they probably had to put the ball in play to have a chance to avoid defeat – something they did not do very well this night. However, eight-grader Whitney Jacobs did – driving a deep fly ball down the left field line that Warren had to run down.
Chapin tallied the lone run in the top of the fourth. Through three innings, the Eagles went nine-up, nine-down against Terrapin with six strikeouts. Leadoff hitter Natalie Harper fouled off a bunt attempt on Terrapin’s first offering in the fourth, and then smacked a line drive on the next pitch that sailed over the head of B-C right fielder Hannah Sharpe for a triple. Harper scampered home on a ground out to second by Addy Schelble.
It was all Morgan needed.
“We know B-C lives on the fastball low and away, and we finally took advantage of it by going the other way,” said Jolley. “It wasn’t much, but it was enough against a great pitcher.”
Terrapin had the only B-C safety in the game, ripping a liner off the glove of Eagles third baseman Samantha Boland for an infield single with two outs in the first inning.
The Bearcats had a prime opportunity to answer in the bottom of the fourth when M.C. Smith opened by reaching base on an error. Kimberly Owens then worked Morgan for a walk to put two runners on with no outs and the heart of the B-C order waiting in the wings.
Morgan, though, was up to the task – striking out Terrapin, Lucas and Benn.
“In a game like this with two really good clubs and two really good pitchers, it usually comes down to which team makes the one mistake and that was us tonight,” said B-C coach Richard Lundy. “It’s as simple as that. Chandler pitched a great game, but (Morgan) was just a little bit better.”
Terrapin allowed four hits and struck out 11 with no walks.