High School Sports

Future Gamecock belts three homers in helping Lexington softball to district title

Maybe Hannah Kumiyama has found a new pregame ritual.

The Lexington senior and USC signee blasted three, two-run home runs over the first three innings to help propel the Wildcats to a 15-1 win over visiting Berkeley in five innings.

“I went home and took a good nap,” Kumiyama said. “I was feeling great. I listened to the music, everything felt good. I was pumped. We had nothing to lose so I just wanted to go hard the entire time.”

Lexington won the Class 5A District VII championship to advance to the Lower State championship bracket. The Wildcats are at Ashley Ridge, a 2-0 winner over Dutch Fork, on Friday at 6 p.m.

Kumiyama’s night set the tone. She wasted little time in delivering the first statement. In her first at bat, she blasted her 12th

home run of the season off the scoreboard in right-center field for a 2-0 lead three Wildcats batters into the game.

Her second time up was in the second inning. The Stags had an opportunity to walk her with a first base open and a runner on second, but Berkeley elected to pitch to her. This time she drilled a line drive that just cleared the wall to the left of the scoreboard to stretch the lead to 6-0.

Her third home run sailed over the left-field fence next to a soccer goal that sits nearly 40 feet from the field. Kumiyama, who missed a last season with a torn ACL, finished 3-for-3 with 6 RBI. She has 14 home runs on the season.

“Hannah came to play today,” first-year Lexington coach Laurie Epps said. “She said before the game she was feeling good about it and usually when she says something like that, she has a good day. She definitely had a good day today.”

Kumiyama wasn’t the only Wildcat batter that had a good day. Jaci Fleming, Sara Gordon, Peri Rouillard, Jessica Senn and Saige Stanley all collected two hits in the 15-hit attack. The early runs were a boost after beating Berkeley 7-1 this past Saturday.

Senn added three RBI with Gordon and Stanley each driving in two runs each.

“We have a bunch of talented players,” Epps said. “We’re a tough out one through nine. That was huge to go ahead and jump on them. That set the tone.”

That was more than enough support for junior pitcher Allie Light. The Arkansas commitment scattered four hits with four strikeouts and no walks in three innings. Kumiyama pitched the final two innings.

Lexington made it to the lower state championship bracket last year and went 1-2, losing to rival and eventual state champion White Knoll. Getting back to this point and exceeding that they did last year has been a driving force this season.

“We all wanted to get back there and come out with wins,” Kumiyama said. “It’s been a very long time since this program has gone to state and done well. We are sort of playing with a chip on our shoulder.”

W: Allie Light: L: Gracie Decuir. Hitters: L – Hannah Kumiyama 3-3, 3 HR, 6 RBI; Jaci Fleming 2-3; Sara Gordon 2-3, 2 2B; Peri Rouillard 2-3; Jessica Senn 2-2, 3 RBI; Saige Stanley 2-3. B: Brooklyn Stueness 3-3.