Ridge View pulled off a stunning 3-2 upset of Region 5-4A champion North Augusta on Thursday in the first round of the District 5 phase of the big-school softball state playoffs.
The youthful Blazers entered the postseason with an 11-11 record and needed a win over Irmo in the final game of the regular season on Tuesday just to make the cut as the No. 5 seed out of Region 4-4A.
“We didn’t necessarily expect to come away (from North Augusta) with the win,” said Blazers coach Bruce Dingler. “We’ve been competitive for the most part, but we were through some growing pains, too. Eight of our nine losses were games where the score was either tied or we had a lead entering the fifth inning, but then something would happen and we’d lose. That didn’t happen this time.”
Seventh-grade pitcher Madey Smith was the key, keeping the potent Yellow Jackets lineup in check for all but one inning.
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The game was a scoreless tie for five innings. Ridge View got the jump with three runs in the top of the sixth. Morgan Bailey opened the frame with a single and moved to third base on a double by catcher Kate Smith, the sophomore sister of Madey Smith. Ashlee Romanik scored Bailey with a single, and Kate Smith came home on a single by Madey Smith. Romanik eventually scored what proved to be the winning run on a ground out off the bat of Keely Griggs.
North Augusta got to Madey Smith in the bottom of the sixth – belting a home run, a double and a triple, good for two run. Madey Smith, however, got out of the jam without incident from there. In the seventh, Smith struck out the side to finish the game with
Madey Smith tuner up for the biggest game of her brief high school career by throwing a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts in Tuesday’s 8-0, playoff-clinching win over Irmo.
The Blazers second-round game will be Friday against South Florence at the Freedom Florence complex.
Gilbert 6, Indian Land 2
Gilbert broke out the heavy lumber in its District 3 Class 2A softball state playoff-opening win at home. Kathryn Cochcroft wiped out a 1-0 Indian Land lead with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and Victoria Burckett belted a two-run shot in the fourth that proved to be the game winner. Burkett and Cochcroft sealed the deal by smacking RBI doubles in the sixth inning Lyndie Dorgan improved to 15-2 in the circle Gilbert (20-3) hosts Woodruff on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a second round game that will determine one of the district finalists.