Chapin earned another shot at St. James in the Class 3A softball state playoffs, downing Region 5 rival Midland Valley 9-1 on Monday to advance to the District 7 championship round on Wednesday in Murrells Inlet.
The Eagles (21-4) must beat the host Sharks two times to advance to the Lower State tournament. Chapin made it to the Elite Eight in 2009 and 2010 in the Upper State, only to be denied a chance to play for a state championship by title-bound J.L. Mann.
St. James put Chapin in the do-or-die position by beating the Eagles on their home turf 2-0 in second-round action on Saturday.
“St. James got the jump on us in the first inning and we began pressing,” said Eagles coach Jason Jolley. “We had plenty of chances; we just couldn’t get the big hit to break things open. St. James made a couple of great defensive plays, but the bottom line was we didn’t deliver on our chances. We had six runners in scoring position at various times with less than two outs and couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.”
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The Eagles did not let the Mustangs get the jump in Monday’s elimination game. Chapin scored one run in the first and essentially secured the decision by erupting for five runs in the bottom of the second.
With Taylor Morgan in the circle, that was more than enough run support. The junior right-hander went five innings, allowed one unearned run and two hits and had 12 strikeouts.
Morgan has 33 whiffs in 16 innings of playoff work, and has yet to be charged with an earned run.
“There are no excuses at this point in the season,” said Jolley. “You either do the job, or you don’t and the season is over. We’re confident we can win two games (on Wednesday), but we’re only going to focus on winning the first one before we turn our attention to the second.”
The Eagle bats came alive vs. Midland Valley; the yield was 13 safeties. Sam Boland led the hit parade by going 3-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs. She also drew a first-inning walk.
But the true headliner was catcher Whitley Martin, who drove in the first Chapin run with a sacrifice fly to deep left-center field, belted a run-scoring double and scoring herself in the second and capped the night with a solo home run over the fence in left-center.
Addy Schelble, Savannah Frick, Keri Richardson and Alex Warren also joined in the fun. Schelble had two hits and scored two runs, Frick was 2-for-4 with a run scored, Richardson had two hits in three trips and scored once and Warren’s two-run triple ignited the decisive second-inning burst.