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Familiar Teams facing Off In SCISA Softball Finals After Play-off Tournament In Sumter May 10-11

Familiar Teams facing Off In SCISA Softball Finals After Play-off Tournament In Sumter May 10-11, Cardinal Newman Will Challenge Wilson Hall in AAA Series Starting  Monday While Marlboro Academy Will Play Pee Dee Academy While Wando Will have Their Hands Full Against Dorchester Academy In The Class A Finals After The Raiders Beat Teams 30-0 In Tournament

By Billy G. Baker


Sumter—The three classifications of the SCISA double elimination bracket included 24 outstanding teams that all competed in Sumter at Patriot Park Complex on May 10-11, consisting of four fields adjacent to each other.

The teams comprised an upper and lower bracket with cross over bracketing figured in with the best two teams left in each classification moving on to a best-of-thee series starting on Monday and ending up on Wednesday should a third game be required.

In AAA, the upper bracket consisted of Cardinal Newman, Florence Christian, Wilson Hall and Northwood Academy while Laurence Manning, Ben Lippen, Augusta Christian, and Orangeburg Prep comprised the lower bracket.

In AA Pee Dee Academy, Calhoun Academy, Carolina Academy and Colleton Prep were in the upper bracket while Marlboro Academy, Williamsburg Academy, Greenwood Christian and Thomas Heyward were in the lower bracket.

In Class A Dorchester Academy, Andrew Jackson Academy, Jefferson Davis Academy and WW King were in the upper bracket while St. Johns Christian, Richard Winn, Wardlaw Academy and Clarendon Hall made up the lower bracket.  

AAA Review: Cardinal Newman Vs. Wilson Hall in Sumter Monday, At CN on Tuesday, If Third Game Needed Go To Yet To Be Determined Neutral Site

After a hard-fought 16-13 upset win over Cardinal Newman on Friday night Wilson Hall (12-15) also defeated Northwood Academy 12-2 and Florence Christian 8-4 to earn a spot in the AAA SCISA finals against Cardinal Newman starting in Sumter on Monday.  

“I guess you can call us the Cinderella team of the AAA tournament,” said Wilson hall head coach Teresa Alexander. “We graduated five seniors and we lost our returning shortstop and our returning third baseman to season ending injuries early in the season.

“We actually have just two starters who started last year playing right now and they are center fielder Carly Allred and third baseman Sydney Jarecki.”

Jarecki is batting .650 and Andi Grae Wingate is at .475. Kailee Posten is a first- year pitcher. Three starting infielders are 8th graders. They are Dani Hanley at second and third, Sophie Greene at shortstop, and Ellie Stone is at first base. Caitleigh Bryant is also a solid hitter for the Lady barons.  

“The strength of our team is our two senior starters and all of our returning players from last season,” said Coach Alexander. “We play well as a team and our team unity is really good.”     

Cardinal Newman had to beat Laurence Manning twice on Saturday to earn a spot in the finals. Cardinal Newman had beat Wilson Hall twice during the regular season and when CN lost on Friday night it was their first loss to a SCISA team all year.  CN beat LMA 9-2 in the first game and then came back from a three-run deficit in the second game to win 7-5 in 8 innings.

Clemson signee Carsten Puckett, who is also the team’s top pitcher, hit a towering two run homer in the 8th inning of the first game against LMA with a runner placed on second to start the extra innings game. Some observers at the game wondered why you would pitch to a player already with 9 home runs in that situation, an intentional walk might have been the thing to do.

Puckett has 77 innings pitched this year and she is 8-3 with 79” k and an ERA of 1.181. Puckett is also batting .560 with a 43 RBI’s, 11 doubles and 9 homers. The CN batting order is full of .400 plus hitters including lead-off Jasmine Hogan at .488 and 25 RBI’s along with clean-up Hannah Bostic at .438 and Maddie Dinkins who is at .361 including 39 RBI’s. Makenzie Hoover is at .429 and Mary Kathryn Gillespie is hitting .415 with 26 RBI’s.  

“As a coach I try not to let the other team’s best hitter beat me but having said that I am sure glad Carsten got chance to bat there in the first game when we went into extra innings,” said head CN coach Dwayne Jones. “Carsten is Clemson’s first in-state signee and when she transferred to us this year it allowed us to move some players around and gave us a solid pitcher and solid hitter at the plate who leads us in RBI’s.

“When we lost last night we just flushed it and thank goodness we didn’t had much time to dwell on it because we had to be back at the ball park at 8 a.m. Saturday morning for a 9 a.m. game,” said Coach Jones. “Wilson Hall is a very good team and we look forward to competing against them in the finals.”   


AA Review:  Pee Dee Will Host Marlboro Academy Monday With Tuesday’s game At Marlboro. If needed Neutral Site TBA

In SCISA AA Marlboro Academy went undefeated in the tournament defeating last year’s runner-up Williamsburg Academy 5-0 and 8-1 and the lady Dragons also beat Thomas Heyward 5-0 and Carolina Academy 9-0 early Saturday. Marlboro Academy will be matched up against region rival Pee Dee Academy in the finals.

Marlboro is led by Presbyterian College pitching signee Jenna Greene who had 12 K’s in pitching a perfect game over the Bobcats of Carolina Academy. She has over 1,000 strike-outs in her stellar prep career.

Marlboro Academy is led at the plate by Greene, Lana McLaurin, Madison Carriker, Savanna Barber, and Sara White. Marlboro Academy is coached by Boyd McLaurin.  

Pee Dee Academy (19-4) beat Carolina Academy 6-5 on Saturday of the SCISA tournament to earn a spot in the AA finals against Marlboro Academy starting on Monday at Pee Dee Academy. During the regular season the Eagles lost twice to Marlboro 10-0 and 4-0. Two years the Dragons swept the Eagles to win the state title.

Pee Dee Academy is under first year head coach Will Eskridge. The Eagles are led in the circle by 2018 HSSR AA Player of the Year Bailee Elvington who locates her pitches well.  Gracy Hyatt and Lacey Johnson are also valuable leaders and good hitters on the team.

Class A Review: Dorchester Academy Is The Host School Monday, Wardlaw Will Host on Tuesday & The Neutral Site, If Needed, Is TBA  

Dorchester Academy came into the tournament as two-time defending Class A champions and their play was outstanding as they beat teams 30-0 over the two-day event to earn a spot against Wardlaw Academy in the finals.

“Our pitcher PJ Jackson has had a heck of week,” said DA co-head coach Jack Reeves. “We have Moose Reeves going on to Wingate, Savannah Shelton is headed to USC Beaufort, and Katelyn Creel is going to play at Columbia College.

“We made only one error this weekend at the tournament and our goal is to win the state title in two games,” said Coach Reeves. “Our team goal all year has been to make it three in a row,”

Coach Reeves said the Lady Raiders top hitters, all over .400, include: Reeves, Grace Judy, Savanna Varn, Creel, Shelton, Ashlyn Lynch, and Elizabeth Huff.    

In a rather unfortunate situation St. Johns Christian Academy lost their head coach and three players who had to depart to attend a wedding after the first game on Saturday morning. All four individuals were in the wedding party and they had no choice but to leave the event.

Wardlaw Academy needed to beat St. Johns Christian twice in order to make the finals and the Patiots took advantage of the situation with 4-2 and 17-3 wins Saturday afternoon.  Wardlaw also beat King 19-9 and Richard Winn 18-10 in the tournament. They had lost to Clarendon Hall 22-9.

Wardlaw is led at the plate by Gracey Kirven who is batting well over .580. Senior third baseman Elizabeth Ruth, freshman outfielder Ashland Younce, senior catcher Anna Lee Rodgers, and senior center fielder Davis Wash are all around .400.  Taylor Rodgers is the team’s junior pitcher.

Wardlaw is coached by Mark Rodgers. “We have played against Dorchester Academy in the finals the last years, so we know all about them and we know what we are up against,” said Coach Rodgers. “We have a good bunch of hard working girls on this team. We have played well the last two games and our bats are coming around.

“We just need to play fundamentally sound softball and be able to hit some to compete well against Dorchester Academy in the finals,” said Coach Rodgers.   

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