High School Sports

Big bats boost Cardinal Newman to 3A softball state championship

Cardinal Newman showed it had the firepower to overcome Sydney Jarecki’s two-run first-inning home run for Wilson Hall on Wednesday.

The Cardinals picked up three runs in their half of that frame, then bombed the Barons in a seven-run, seven-hit third. From there, they eased to a 15-4 victory in the deciding game of the SCISA 3A softball state championship at South Carolina’s Beckham Field.

“We wanted to be aggressive, not passive,” Cardinal Newman coach Dwayne Jones said. “I thought in the first game it was like we were playing not to lose. Yesterday and today we came out with an aggressive mentality at the plate. We were playing to win and it made a huge difference for us.”

It was Jones’ first title at Cardinal Newman. He won three while at Spring Valley.

Jasmine Hogan homered and went 3-for-4, in addition to making three sensational center-field catches. M.K. Gillespie went 3-for-3 with two doubles.

Jarecki got the Barons on the scoreboard with a two-run home run in the first inning, but Cardinal Newman got three runs on a hit and two Wilson Hall errors in the bottom of that frame. Gillespie scored on Hannah Bostic’s one-out double, and Maddie Dinkins got Carsten Puckett and Bostic home on a three-base fielding error in right field.

After Hogan’s sensational catch of a would-be RBI single blanked Wilson Hall in the second, she came up to bat and swatted an 0-1 pitch over the fence in left field for a solo homer to make it 4-2.

Once Wilson Hall stranded three baserunners in the top of the third, the Cardinals got to bat and got hot in the bottom of the inning.

Gillespie hit a bases-clearing double and Dinkins had a two-run double in a seven-run outburst that gave the Cardinals an 11-2 advantage.

Four more runs in the fourth closed the door on the Barons, who got two runs in the top of the fifth before Cardinal Newman clinched the game on the 10-run mercy rule.

Puckett, a Clemson commit, picked up the win. After allowing two runs in the first, she allowed just earned run the rest of the way and struck out four.

Puckett also pitched a one-hitter Tuesday to force a deciding game.

“She pitched 21 innings on Saturday to get us here, and then pitched three consecutive games on Monday Tuesday Wednesday,” Jones said of Puckett. “She was just a gladiator. Jasmine made an awesome catch in center field (in the second inning) and Kaitlynn Greenwood played a phenomenal shortstop for us all season.”

WP: Carsten Puckett LP: Kailee Poston

Hitters: WH – Andigrae Wingate 2-3. Caitleigh Bryant 2-4. Dani Hanley 2B. Sydney Tarecki HR. CN – Jasmine Hogan 3-4, HR. Mary Kathryn Gillespie 3-3, 2 2B. Hannah Bostic 2-4. Maddie Dinkins 2-4, 2B. Kaytlin Greenwood 2-4.