If defense and pitching wins in the postseason – and turns out, timely hitting - White Knoll softball put on quite a display in game one of the Best-of-Three Class 5A State Championship series against Byrnes in a rematch of last year’s championship.
Andrea Lyon pitched a three-hitter thanks to solid play defensively in a 2-1 victory over the Rebels to take a 1-0 lead in series. White Knoll is a game away from winning its first state title in softball. Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night at Byrnes.
“We have to stay within ourselves,” White Knoll coach April Farr said. “We control our own destiny, work hard, stay poised, stay focused and stay tough on defense. Then get enough hits to help our pitcher.”
The winning run came on Lyon’s solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, which made it 2-0 at the time. It cleared the tree line in left field for her 12th long ball this year.
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Lyon finished with two strike outs, so it was her defense that made several big plays at crucial times. Hannah Goodwin got things started with a running catch on a ball in short left field to open the second inning.
Maddie Miller added a bare-handed play from third that just nipped a runner at first to end the third inning. Shelby Davies turned in several key stops at second including an inning ending double play on a line drive that ended the sixth inning. White Knoll’s defense was error free.
“We’ve had times where strike outs and pitching have been there, but our defense has really been solid, and our pitcher knows they have her back,” Farr said. “I told them, when we get to this round, we have to be prepared for more defense and more balls hit to us. We responded.”
Byrnes (25-3) left the tying run on third in the seventh inning. Haven Pesce doubled and Amber Campbell singled, putting runners on second and third with no outs. A line drive and two ground balls to Davies ended the game.
“We were really good on defense,” Lyon said. “We knew they were going to put it in play and the defense had my back the entire game.”
White Knoll (30-2) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Ginna Leaphart was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a single by Lyon and advanced to third when Maddie Miller was hit by a pitch. Leaphart scored when Libby Williams’s grounder to short was misplayed.
Wilson Hall 6, Cardinal Newman 5
Kathyrn Sistare singled with one out in the eighth inning to give Wilson Hall a comeback victory in Game One of the SCISA Championship series.
Liza Lowder forced extra innings with an RBI single to tie it in the bottom of the seventh.
Hannah Bostic had a 3-run triple that highlighted a 4-run fourth inning for Cardinal Newman.
Game Two is Tuesday at 6 pm at Cardinal Newman.