Spring Valley scored it biggest softball win in recent years on Saturday, knocking off top-ranked, defending state champion Mauldin 1-0 on the road in the second round of the Class 4A District 2 state playoffs.
The red-hot Vikings, who have won 10 in a row and stand at 19-9 overall, are off Wednesday when they face either Mauldin or Woodmont at home needed one win to claim the district title and advance to the Upper State tournament.
Rachel Melin was the star of the show against the Mavericks, spinning a neat four-hitter for her fourth straight shutout win. The junior right-hander is 15-3 with seven shutouts and a 1.74 ERA. Melin’s game is control, not power. She has just 64 strikeouts in 133 innings for work, but, more to the point, she has issued merely three bases on balls.
Spring Valley tallied the lone run of the game in the top of the sixth inning. Mariaha Sanborn reached second base on an error. Pinch runner Stephanie Junker moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Christie Reilly and scored on Morgan Barker single. Barker had three of the Vikings four hits off Mavericks freshman hurler Amanda Storch.
The difference was defense. Mauldin had two errors; Spring Valley had no miscues in the field.
Spring Valley opened the playoffs with a 4-0 win over visiting Gaffney on Friday.
Sanborn paced an 11-hit attack with three safeties, including a double. She scored one run and drove in one. Greer Killman, Reilly and Lauren Skinner were credited with the other RBIs.
Melin scattered five Indians hits and fanned five without a walk.
Spring Valley has advanced to the district final round for the first time since 2007 when it let the title slip away by dropping two games to Sumter. Before than misstep, the Vikings advanced to the Elite Eight phase of the playoffs four times in four tries since the district playoff format was introduced in 4A in 2003.