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No, No, no turns into yes, yes, yes for Lady Demons

Lunsford’s third no-hitter sends L-E into Upper State tourney

Posted: May 5, 2016 2:50 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2016 1:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of

BALEIGH LUNSFORD FIRED her third no-hitter of the season in Lugoff-Elgin’s 4A District 3 championship game win over Gaffney.

On a night which she did not need to be, Baleigh Lunsford was “Bail” ed out by freshman teammate Bailey Douglas.

The end result was the Lugoff-Elgin softball team earning a berth in Saturday’s 4A Upper State championship tournament with a 3-0 win over visiting Gaffney in Wednesday’s District 3 championship game played at L-E.

Lunsford, a junior right-hander, fired her third no-hitter of the season, while it was a three-run blast from Douglas which provided all the scoring James Marlow’s troops would need to advance to the program’s first district title in softball since 2002.

The win sends the Lady Demons to Byrnes for Saturday’s first round Upper State pairing. Game time is set for 6 p.m. Byrnes handed L-E one of its two losses of the season, edging Marlow and company, 1-0, in the mid-season tournament in Duncan.

Going into Wednesday’s game with the Lady Indians, Marlow and his team knew the contest would definitely be more competitive than Saturday’s 11-1 winners’ bracket meeting with Gaffney. On that day, GHS did not have its number one pitcher, Olivia Henson, available. Lugoff-Elgin took advantage and pounded out 13 hits in their decisive 10-run victory. 

After Lunsford retired the side in order in the top of the first, the Lady Demons had a great opportunity to strike first in the bottom of the inning. 

Freshman centerfielder Savannah Grigsby got things started by drawing a walk. After senior Delaney Guerrero was able to lay down a successful sacrifice bunt to move Grigsby to second, Grigsby stole third after an attempt by Gaffney catcher Ashley Wallace to pick her off at second. With Grigsby on third, Lunsford reached on an infield single, a shallow pop-up that was just out of the reach of Gaffney third baseman Kerrigan Thornton putting runners on the corners with only one out. Hannah Tucker ran for Lunsford and was able to take second uncontested on a defensive indifference by Gaffney. Despite having a great opportunity to strike first, Henson was able to get out of the inning unscathed by getting the next two hitters on a pop fly and a strikeout.

Henson and Lunsford would engage in a pitcher’s battle for the next three innings. 

Gaffney had just one hitter reach base on a walk in the fourth while Taylor Sinay drew a walk in the second and Kelly Graham hit a single in the fourth for Lugoff-Elgin.

L-E had another opportunity to take the lead in the fifth as Sinay was hit by Henson’s 0-1 pitch to start the inning. After second baseman Erica Rawl laid down a successful bunt to move Sinay into scoring position, Grigsby hit a ball that Henson was not able to cleanly field allowing Sinay to move over to third. On the next pitch, Grigsby took second uncontested on another defensive indifference by Gaffney. With runners at second and third and only one out, Henson was able to get out of trouble by recording a strikeout and a pop out to short to end the inning.

After Lunsford was able to get Gaffney in order in the sixth, the hostesses started another rally in the bottom of the inning. 

Junior catcher Sophie Holland got things started with a single to left field. Graham followed by hitting a single up the middle that was just out of the reach of Henson to put runners at first and second. Third baseman Kaley Goerlich moved Graham and Holland into scoring position on a ground out to Gaffney second baseman Faith Belue. 

With one out Bailey Douglas came to the plate. Having been in this exact scenario two times earlier in the game, L-E was unable to take advantage of those opportunities. The third time was the charm. 

Douglas drove Henson’s first pitch deep to left field that barely stayed fair for a three-run home run to give L-E a 3-0 lead.

Lunsford was able to get Gaffney in order in the seventh to secure the 3-0 victory for the Lady Demons while picking up her 23rd win on the year. She finished the night with six strikeouts and only allowed one Gaffney base runner to reach on a walk in the fourth inning.

The second round of the 4A Upper State tournament will continue next Monday. In either instance, the Lady Demons will be home as they will host a winners’ bracket or an elimination contest. 

The time for that game has yet to be decided as there were still two district tournament championship games to have been played on Thursday due to early week rain outs.


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