Error gives S. Granville 1-0 lead in 3-game 2-A semifinal series
A South Lenoir error in the seventh inning gave South Granville a 4-3 walk off win Thursday in the opener of the best-of-three state 2-A semifinal softball series.
Game 2 is tonight at 7 p.m. in Deep Run, near Kinston. If necessary, the series will be decided with a 2 p.m. match-up at South Granville on Saturday.
In the opener, a seventh-inning grounder by South Granville’s Erin Boone was too hot for South Lenoir’s defense to handle. A resultant bad throw allowed the winning run to score.
South Granville coach Jackie Day said South Lenoir just should have held the ball, leaving Vikings on the corners.
“I think the stress got the best of them, and they should have conceded the base,” Day said. “But she elected to throw, and that’s the end of the story.”
South Lenoir coach Lisa Smith said of the fateful play: “It’s a whole game. It’s not one play that makes the game.”
A third-inning outfield error by South Lenoirled to three South Granville runs. The Vikings didn’t make spectacular plays, just solid ones, putting their bats on the ball to clean the bases.
“We don’t try to hit the ball up. We hit low, line drives,” Day said.
Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, South Lenoir loaded the bases on an error by South Granville.
“Let’s get out of this mess!” a South Granville fan yelled.
The Vikings escaped the jam, getting a force out at home before right-fielder Brandi Celia made a lunging ice-cream-cone catch that got her team back in its dugout with no harm done on the scoreboard.
In the top of the seventh, South Lenoir’s Meredith Sanderson was hit by a pitch and went to second on a close play at second moments later that brought Day out of the dugout to challenge the call.
With two one and two out, South Lenoir’s Morgan Mentz hit a deep shot to center field that allowed both runners to score and tie the game, setting up the deciding bottom of the seventh.
“Whoever makes a mistake at this point in time is going to win the game,” Day said, referring to South Lenoir’s costly error. “Emotions will take you out of the game. “How many (mental errors) did we commit? We committed two more than what they did ... It just didn’t bite us.”
Day said he won’t change anything for tonight’s game. The Vikings will go with what they know, he said.
“If it’s good enough to get you there, it’s good enough to get you through,” Day said.
Smith said her Blue Devils waited too late to bring the intensity. That has to change, she said.
“We need to play like we did the last two innings the whole game, with that fire,” Smith said.
South Granville 4, South Lenoir 3
(SG leads best-of-3 series 1-0)
South Lenoir 100 000 2 —3 8 3
South Granville 003 000 1 —4 8 1
South Lenoir, Taylor Sandlin, Mattie Beyer (5th) and Brianna Williams; South Granville, Kasey Newcomb, Jenna Davis (7th) and Karlee Michalina. W—Newcomb 21-1, L—Sandlin (18-2). Leading hitters — South Lenoir, Morgan Mentz 3-4 (2B), Cassidy Willoughby 2-4, Williams 1-4 (2B), Beyer 1-3 (2B); South Granville, Erin Boone 3-4 (2B, RBI), Newcomb 1-3 (RBI), Davis 1-3 (RBI).
Records — South Lenoir 22-4, South Granville 23-1