UNION COUNTY — For the fourth year in a row the Union County High School Lady Jackets Softball Team will be competing in the State Title Series.
Lady Jackets’ pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh allowed only three hits scattered over seven innings as Union County blanked North Augusta 3-0 in the Upper State championship game Thursday night. Betenbaugh also struck out six North Augusta batters and only walked two in the win to help the Jackets advance to the Class AAAA title series.
North Augusta pitcher Caroline Cockrell surrendered only five hits over six innings in the loss. Cockrell also struck out four and only one of the three runs Union County scored was an earned run.
Karly Heath singled to left field to start the game for North Augusta, but a strikeout and a double play ended the inning. Union County got its first hit, an Ashley Vinson single, in the bottom of the first, but was unable to advance the runner.
North Augusta’s next opportunity to get on the board came in the top of the third when Grace Wallace doubled to left field off Betenbaugh. The Wallace double was followed by strikeout and then a two-out walk to Heath. However, the visitors were unable to capitalize as the next batter ended the inning with a ground out to first.
Things remained scoreless until the bottom half of the fourth inning when Union was able to break through thanks to singles by Katelyn Petty and Betenbaugh. Union County’s Rebecca Lee doubled to lead off the bottom of the fifth and eventually came around to score after North Augusta committed a two-out error. The home squad added another run thanks to another error and a balk.
North Augusta got another runner on in the sixth when Emily Shiver bunted for a single. Shiver would then steal second and advance to third on a sacrifice bunt before the inning came to an end. In the seventh Katie Wright reached with one out but was unable to advance.
With Thursday’s win the Lady Jackets advance to the State Title Series for the fourth consecutive year. The AAAA State Championship series is scheduled to begin on Monday according to the SC High School League. The Lady Jackets will be on the road for the first game taking on either Hartsville or Lugoff-Elgin.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg.