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Blythewood holds its breath, holds off Lady Demons, 2-1

Posted: March 21, 2016 3:30 p.m.
Updated: March 22, 2016 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I photo/

L-E’S DELANEY GUERRERO fouled off this Ashley Romanick pitch in what proved to be a fortuitous at-bat as the senior would line an RBI single to left field several pitches later in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Blythewood.

From the loud ping of the bat making contact with the ball, Sophia Holland’s deep fly to center field brought the Lugoff-Elgin crowd to its feet in anticipation that the junior catcher had smacked what looked to be a game-winning home run.

Trailing visiting Blythewood, 2-1, with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, Holland’s drive was tracked down at the fence in straightaway center by Grace Campbell. Bailey Lunsford, who led the inning off with a double tagged and advanced to third on the play before BHS pitcher Ashley Romanick made the one-run lead hold in getting a ground ball out to third base before leftfielder Faith Manley made a diving grab of Kaley Goerlich’s rope of a sinking liner.

After gathering his team for a post-game talk, L-E head coach James Marlow admitted that like the rest of the Lady Demon faithful, he thought Holland had hit a walk-off home run to the Thursday night contest.

“Initially,” Marlow said with a smile, “I absolutely thought it was gone. The (base) umpire didn’t know what happened and I tried to tell him that the ball had hit off the fence but the home plate umpire was watching the play.”

The loss dropped the Lady Demons to 6-2 overall and 0-1 in Region 4-4A. Blythewood improved to 2-4 and 2-0 in conference action with the win.

Romanick, a senior right-hander, staved off the L-E threat in the seventh but she breezed along in setting down 12 straight batters from the second through sixth innings. The string ended with Savannah Grigsby’s one-out single to left but she was stranded on third when Romanick got a pop fly foul ball to third baseman Erin Goff to end one of three Lady Demon threats on the night.

The hostesses may have hit the ball too hard for their own good. While the Lady Demons were held to four hits with Grigsby getting half of those, they did not strike out once. At least six L-E outs came on line drives including Goerlich’s scorcher to end the game.

“We told the girls that we were proud of them and, in this game, sometimes you are going to hit the ball right at people,” Marlow said. “We hit the ball hard but we just came out on the other end of the scoreboard tonight.”

Speaking of hard-hit balls, the Lady Bengals jumped to a 1-0 lead when their third batter, Kendall Parker, lined a two-run shot into the trees in left center in the top of the first inning.

L-E responded in getting to Romanick for a run in its first at-bat. 

Grigsby got things going with a leadoff single to center and when the throw back to the infield went wild, the freshman was standing on second base. After being bunted to third by Bailey Douglas, Grigsby scored on Delaney Guerrero’s single to left as it looked as if the Lady Demons were going to be in business. But Romanick stabbed a line drive which she turned into an inning-ending double play by firing to first.

While the inning could have been bigger, Marlow said just answering a run with a run was important from a momentum standpoint.

 “To answer back like that,” he said, “is great for morale and to let the girls know that they are still in the ballgame. It was nice to come back and tie the game up but we didn’t have a baserunner from the second until the sixth inning. That was tough.”

Romanick settled down after issuing a one-out walk to Kelly Graham in the second inning. While not overpowering, she used the changeup to her advantage while letting the BHS defense, which had one miscue in the field, do the work behind her.

“She had a very effective changeup. We got a little a little overanxious at times and there were balls that we pounded back into the infield. She’s a good pitcher,” Marlow said.

The Lady Bengals scored what would be the winning run in the fourth as Romanick slapped a leadoff single to right before taking second on a sacrifice bunt. Romanick came around from there on Campbell’s double to the gap in right center for a 2-1 lead. Lunsford kept the deficit at one run by getting a ground ball out and a pop fly to Holland, the catcher, to end leave Campbell on third.

The L-E battery would play a central role in the seventh as Lunsford lined a leadoff double to the fence in left center before Holland nearly did her battery mate one better with his ball nearly leaving the premises.

While Blythewood won for just the second time this season with that win coming over 4-4A rival Dutch Fork, Marlow said the Lady Demons came up a few feet short of beating a quality team on Thursday.

“They’ve played some tough teams already this year like Fort Mill and Dutch Fork,” he said of the Lady Bengals. “They have a great tradition over there and we’re trying to develop that here. Tonight, they just got the better of us.”


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