HARTSVILLE, S.C. – It was a crazy 4A lower state softball bracket from the get-go.
Two Region 6 teams were present; teams were traversing most of the state to play opponents and county rivals playing for more than just bragging rights.
But the ending was certainly familiar.
When the dust had settled Friday night at Phyllis C. Griggs Park, Hartsville had captured its sixth consecutive lower state crown with a 6-1 win over Colleton County in a game that took just about an hour to play.
Save for a first-inning run by the Cougars produced by a walk and an RBI single, the Hartsville defense settled down to business.
“It was a tie ball game after the first three innings,” said Hartsville coach Tommy Garrison. “That lead-off walk and score kind of always puts you in a bad mood.”
Garrison switched gears and talked about what followed the first three innings.
“Punting the ball in play a little bit put the pressure on them a little bit to make the plays,” he said. “We did some good base running tonight and of course the defense in the outfield was outstanding.”
Hartsville freshman pitcher Alyssa Poston went the distance and gave up one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts. The rest of the 25 batters she faced were retired by either a fly ball, ground out or force play.
Te’Asia McPhail was responsible for three solo outs, including an acrobatic juggling catch in the fifth inning.
The Red Foxes also gunned down a runner at the plate when an alert Emily Woodham scooped up a ground ball and fired it to Brittney Cothran who applied the tag at home.
Hartsville took the lead in the third inning with three runs. Cothran led off by reaching first on an error. With one out, Hartsville was back to the top of the lineup with Abi Stokes who singled and stole second base. An RBI single by McPhail scored Cothran. No. 3 hitter Kaitlyn Yarbrough then stroked a single that scored Stokes and McPhail.
Hartsville added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings to seal the victory.
Hartsville will play Palmetto, who defeated Belton-Honea Path 7-0 and 5-1 for the upper state title.
The Red Foxes will host the first round Monday at 6 p.m.