UNION COUNTY — Union County is now one win away from clinching their third softball state title in four years as the Lady Jackets knocked off Hartsville on Monday night by the score of 8-6.
The Lady Jackets struck first in the top of the first inning when they scored three runs on three hits including a two-run home run by Bailey Betenbaugh. Hartsville answered in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run by Myra McDonald that brought home Jessica McWhorter who had walked earlier in the inning.
Following the home run in the bottom of the first, Betenbaugh, who was on the mound for Union County, settled down and only allowed two more hits over the next six innings while striking out 10 Lady Red Foxes.
The Jackets extended their lead in the top half of the second inning when Courtney Seymore walked, and was advanced by a Rebecca Lee sacrifice bunt, and then advanced to third. Seymore came in to score on a Naquandria Ray single. Jazmyne Boyd would later single, and Katelyn Petty would reach on a fielders choice that erased Boyd to put two on for Ashley Vinson who hit a three-run home run to right field to give the Lady Jackets a 7-2 lead.
That would be all the scoring for the Lady Jackets until the fifth inning when Ray and Boyd would both single again and then Ray was able to score on a Petty double to center field with two outs.
Union County was able to maintain the 8-2 lead until the bottom of the seventh inning when Hartsville mounted a furious comeback scoring four runs despite only getting one hit in the inning to cut the margin to 8-6. A lead-off hit by pitch followed by a strikeout, a walk, an error, a fielder’s choice, and then a triple by McWhorter got the Lady Red Foxes close before Betenbaugh was able to close the door with a two-out pop-up that ended the comeback and the game.
Union County will know have the opportunity, for the first time, to clinch the State Title at home in front of the Jacket faithful. Game two of the best of three series will be Wednesday night (tonight) at the Timken Sports Complex with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.. Take this advice; get there early.
(Advance tickets to tonight’s game are on sale until noon today. They can be purchased at the Union County High School Career Center and the Main Street branch of Arthur State Bank in downtown Union. All tickets are $6.)
Hits — Betenbaugh 3, Petty 2, Ray 2, Boyd 2, Vinson 2, Seymore 1
Runs — Petty 2, Vinson 2, Boyd 1, Betenbaugh 1, Seymore 1, Ray 1
RBIs — Vinson 4, Betenbaugh 2, Petty 1, Ray 1
Home runs — Betenbaugh, Vinson
Doubles — Petty
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg.