HARTSVILLE — It took a week to get to Game Two of the best of three series for the Class 4A State Softball Championship. Union County and Hartsville rescheduled the game four times before the two teams were able to get together on Monday at Hartsville High School. The game would end up being a classic. A low scoring pitchers dual that went into the final inning tied at 1-1, but Hartsville would get a big hit when it counted to get the 2-1 win and force a deciding Game Three for the 4A title.
Katelyn Petty would single for the Jackets with one out in the top of the first inning, but was later caught trying to move into scoring position by stealing second base, before Bailey Betenbaugh hit a hard line drive that was caught by the Hartsville shortstop. The next hit for Union County came in the top of inning number two when Makala Grady reached on an infield single and advanced to second on the throw to first, but was stranded there when Rebecca Lee grounded out to the pitcher to end the Yellow Jacket threat in the second.
Hartsville would get on the board in the bottom of the second when McInnis reached second on an error by outfielder Jazmyne Boyd, and came into score when she attempted to steal third and an error was made by shortstop Katelyn Petty. The Jackets would answer in the top of the third when Petty walked with two outs and came around to score when Bailey Betenbaugh doubled off the top of the left-field fence, missing a home run by mere inches. Abbie Valentine would then single to center and the pinch runner, Ashanti Young, was held at third. She would remain there until Courtney Seymore struck out to end the inning.
Hartsville would not have another base runner until the bottom of the fourth when Watford singled with one out but was stranded at first when Betenbaugh pitched her way out of the jam. Union County would be retired in order in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, making it a 1-1 tie as the game went to the bottom of the seventh inning. In the home half of the seventh, lead-off batter Taylor Watford for Hartsville led off the seventh inning with a home run to left field off of Betenbaugh, giving the Lady Red Foxes a 2-1 victory and tying the best of three series at one game each.
Bailey Betenbaugh was fantastic again pitching for the Yellow Jackets. She allowed just two hits in the contest, while striking out seven, walking just one, and only allowing one earned run. Petty, Betenbaugh, Valentine, and Grady all had hits for the Jackets and Betenbaugh had the team’s only RBI.
Game Three between Union County and Hartsville will be tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. at Lancaster High School Softball Field, 1100 Roddey Drive, Lancaster. Parking will be available in the practice field next to the softball stadium. Admission is $6.
Union County will be the home team by virtue of winning a coin toss at the end of Game Two.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg. He can be reached at [email protected]