Blythewood’s softball team found itself in an all-to-familiar, uncomfortable position on Monday night in a Class 4A District II elimination game at home.
A year ago, the Bengals opened postseason play with an easy, 12-2 win over Northwestern. But after a semifinal loss dumped Bucky Ware’s team into the loser’s bracket, a rematch with the Trojans from Rock Hill was in order. The result was a bit different. Northwestern pulled off a 6-5 win that ended the Bengal season.
Last night, was déjà vu almost. Blythewood again opened the playoffs with an leisurely, 7-0 home win over Northwestern, and, again, found the Trojans awaiting after a semifinal loss.
This time, however, the Bengals did not stumble against the Trojans, scoring a 5-0 win to advance to Wednesday’s district final round in Simpsonville against Hillcrest. The top-ranked Rams defeated Ware’s bunch 9-1 on Saturday.
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“After what happened last year, there was no chance of us overlooking (Northwestern),” said Ware. “Our goal was to have another day of practice to get ready to go up against Hillcrest again.”
Katie Chappell pitched her second straight shutout against NW, scattering seven Trojans hits while striking out five.
Offensively, first baseman Jessica Roth provided all the support Chappell would require with a two-run home run to left field in the second inning. The three other runs came by more unconventional means. The two Bengal tallies in the fifth were via a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded fielder’s choice that netted Blair Murphy and Ashlee Romanik RBIs. In the fifth, Ellen Cordova led off with a double down the left field line, moved up to third on a bunt by Ashley Gilstrap and scored on Chappell’s ground out.
Blythewood (22-6) must find a way to beat Hillcrest (26-2) twice on Wednesday to avoid closing it down in 2012.