NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – The Hartsville Lady Foxes have survived yet another test with a 4-3 victory in the first round of the Class 4A Lower State softball bracket Friday night. The Lady Foxes are the only remaining undefeated team in the state at 25-0.
It was another cliff-hanging win with later-inning fireworks, this time by the opposing team.
“They come on strong late and we knew we had to keep them away from the outside pitch,” said head coach Tommy Garrison. “We’ve been working on hitting and working on hitting. We haven’t hit well since that last tournament.”
Hartsville opened the game with a three-run first inning courtesy of an Abi Stokes walk and a bunt single by Te’Asia McPhail. The pair scored on a single by Kaitlyn Yarbrough and Yarbrough crossed the plate a couple of plays later.
North Augusta scored a run in the third inning on a walk and an RBI double that one-hopped to the fence.
Hartsville answered with a single run in the fifth inning after McPhail singled for her third hit of the night. She stole second base, reached third on a sac by Yarbrough and scored on a throwing error.
Hartsville pitcher Alyssa Poston was cruising with eight strikeouts and had only allowed two hits up to that point.
With one out, North Augusta’s Madi Usry hit a line-drive homerun to tighten up the game. Haidyn Hutto walked and scored on a Katelyn Cochran single.
Poston struck out the final batter for another double-digit strikeout night. She faced 26 batters on the night, giving up four hits, three runs, all earned, and two walks. She tossed a total of 117 pitches, 81 of which were strikes.
If there was an Achilles’ heel Friday night for Hartsville it would have been the seven strikeouts by batters and the six stranded runners.
Hartsville will host the winner of the Darlington vs. Colleton County game, which will be played at 2 p.m. today, in Hartsville on Monday in the winner’s bracket.