The Swamp Foxes fell to Lexington in the Class AAAAA Softball Lower State championship series May 10.

After winning three straight playoff games to claim the District 8 Championship, Ashley Ridge lost to Lexington in its first game of the Lower State round. The Swamp Foxes bounced back with two straight wins to advance to the Lower State championship series, but were eliminated with a 3-0 loss in Lexington. The Wildcats advance to face Byrnes in this week’s best-of-three state title series.

Lexington pitcher Allie Light pitched a two hitter in the Wildcats’ second win over the Swamp Foxes as her team improved to 24-3 on the season. Ashley Ridge finishes the season with 23 wins, 4 losses and 2 ties that came during a tournament.

“We had a great season and returned to the state semi-finals,” Ashley Ridge coach Larissa Shannon said. “Lexington has an extremely good team. They hit well and their pitcher has one of the best arms we’ve faced this year so give them credit.”

Lexington beat Berkeley 15-1 in this year’s District 7 championship series and defeated South Florence 20-6 in the Lower State round so the 3-0 loss speaks to what type of defense Ashley Ridge has.

“There were moments in the game when we didn’t execute, but we did play well,” Shannon said. “We put the ball in play but they played great defense.”

Hailey Patterson opened the game with a leadoff single. Then Maddie Ingram sent a shot deep, but the Lexington centerfielder made an outstanding catch. Ashley Ridge’s only other hit came in the final inning.

“That loss doesn’t take anything away from the way we played this season,” Shannon said. “Things were just not in our favor that day and that’s fine. I’m beyond proud of what we were able to accomplish this year.”

Ashley Ridge had better luck at the plate during its two previous playoff games.

On May 6, the Swamp Foxes defeated Cane Bay 11-1. Catcher Elle Parent had a grand-slam homerun during the big inning. Senior Katie Freeman had a strong performance in the circle for the Swamp Foxes.

Two days later, Ashley Ridge defeated South Florence 7-1 in another elimination game to advance to the championship series. Parent had a base hit off the top of the outfield fence and everyone in the lineup reached base. Patterson was 2 for 3 at the plate.

Freeman only surrendered two hits to South Florence, both of which came in the final inning. She struck out 12 batters.

“We had some big hits against Cane Bay,” Shannon said. “Against South Florence it took us a while to adjust to their pitcher but we finally did and got hits at opportune times.”

This is the second straight season Ashley Ridge has advanced to the Lower State championship series.