Barnwell softball celebrates playoff win
Saturday’s class AA second round District V playoff game between Barnwell High and Bamberg-Ehrhardt High could be best described as the hold-your-breath contest.
For seven-and-a-half innings, pitching, spectacular defensive plays and a few questionable calls by the umpires kept Barnwell High and Bamberg-Ehrhardt High struggling for a break-through run.
Tied at 6-6, Barnwell High, however, proved to be the more resilient team down the stretch.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Kelci Brown came through with a game-winning RBI, giving the Lady Warhorses a 7-6 victory.
With the win, Barnwell High advances to the District V Finals. They will play the winner of the Johnsonville and Bamberg-Ehrhardt High on Wednesday at home.
Barnwell High coach Carol Massengale said it was a tough battle all the way.
“Great game between two good softball teams,” Massengale said. “I’m really proud of our girls. After losing the lead, we never gave up. We kept fighting back and found a way to tie the game.”
The 11 a.m. start made for a humid day. Despite the heat, both pitchers turned in an admirable job on the circle.
For the Lady Red Raiders, Muriel Jowers went the distance with nine hits allowed and four strikeouts. Kelci Brown of the Lady Warhorses also went the distance. She allowed 11 hits, struck out seven and allowed one walk.
“Kelci Brown and Muriel Jowers are two of the finest pitchers in class AA and I thought both performed well today,” Massengale said. “As for the heat, it definitely was a factor in the game. Overall, both teams did a good job of keeping their players hydrated.”
The game started with the Lady Warhorses getting on the scoreboard first on runs by Kaylie Pridgen and Maleah Williams.
After going four scoreless innings, the Lady Red Raiders finally got their bats going in the fifth inning. The team scored two runs off three hits with Anna Brabhim and Alexus Jennings crossing home plate. With a runner on third, BHES had a chance to take the lead in the inning, but second baseman Rachael Creech snagged a line drive off the bat of Kaitlyn Crosby to end the inning.
Tied at 2-2, the Lady Warhorses fired back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kylie Bridgmon and Rachael Creech reached on singles to start the inning. Two batters later, the Lady Warhorses looked to score off a hit, but outfielder Zorria Hayes made a diving catch to hold the runners on base.
Hayes, however, couldn’t stop the inevitable. Kyra Shuler stepped to the plate next and launched a three-run homer to put the team ahead 5-2.
Down by three runs, the Lady Red Raiders rallied in the top of the seventh inning. Highlighted by Kaitlyn Crosby’s two-run RBI double, the team plated four runs off four hits for a 6-5 lead.
Trailing by one run, the Lady Warhorses looked to be done in their last at-bat with two outs and a runners on second. Maleah Williams, however, kept hope alive with a RBI double to tie the game at 6-6.
The score remained that way until the bottom of the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kelci Brown laced a double down the first base line, scoring Bridgmon for the winning run.