The Swamp Foxes shutout Dutch Fork May 1 to claim the District 8 Championship for the 2019 Class AAAAA Softball playoffs.
Ashley Ridge defeated James Island and West Florence to advance to the district championship series without a playoff loss. Since Dutch Fork had lost to West Florence in the opening round, the Silver Foxes had to beat Ashley Ridge to avoid elimination.
“It was a pitchers’ battle,” Ashley Ridge coach Larissa Shannon said. “The rise ball was working for the Dutch Fork pitcher, but we made adjustments late and were able to push a run across.”
Senior Katie Freeman went the distance in the circle for the Swamp Foxes and stuck out 12 Dutch Fork batters.
Leadoff batter Hailey Patterson scored the game-winning run. She reached on a hit, moved to second base on a bunt and to third on a grounder. Libby Carey then drove her in with a sacrifice fly.
“We moved Hailey up to our leadoff spot and it has made a huge difference,” Shannon said. “She has one of the hottest bats in our lineup. However, we need to keep getting better in every aspect. There isn’t any one thing we are doing perfect. In the playoffs one-run games don’t always get the job done, especially if you have to travel.”
This is the third consecutive season Ashley Ridge has won a district softball title.
Ashley Ridge opened the Lower State round of the playoffs May 3 with a 4-2 loss to Lexington in The Swamp. After a sloppy start, Ashley Ridge cleaned its play up to stay in the game. Freeman fanned 10 batters while walking only one and surrendering only three hits. Unfortunately for Swamp Fox fans, Lexington drove in runs with two of those hits.
Jaci Fleming led off the game with a Lexington single. She stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball. Cassidy St. George reached on an error and then scored on a double from Peri Rouillard for a 2-0 Wildcat lead.
Ashley Ridge tied the game in the bottom of the second inning. Shortstop Rachel Jonas reached on an infield single and catcher Elle Parent and outfielder Tamiyah Whitlock both reached on an error. Another error allowed Jonas and courtesy runner Aaliyah Gethers to score for the 2-2 tie.
Freeman fanned the first two batters in the top of the third, but then walked the next and surrendered the only other Wildcat hit of the game. Catcher Sarah Gordan had the hit, a two-run homer that plated Hannah Kumiyana and gave the Wildcats the 4-2 advantage.
Ashley Ridge loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame on hits by Freeman and second baseman Maddie Ingram and a Lexington error. However, Lexington pitcher Allie Light struck out the next three batters to get the Wildcats out of the inning safely.
Light fanned 12 Ashley Ridge batters during the game while walking none. She surrendered five hits and no earned runs.
Jonas led all batters, going 2 for 2 at the plate. Ingram was 2 for 4.
Ashley Ridge was scheduled to host Cane Bay for an elimination game May 6. The winner of that game will advance to face either South Florence or Lexington May 8. The Lower State championship series is scheduled for May 10.