CATAWBA — The West Lincoln Lady Rebels varsity softball team took a 2-1 win over the Bandys Lady Trojans in the second round of the 2A state playoffs on Tuesday the hard way.
West Lincoln took a 1-0 lead after four scoreless innings but the Lady Trojans answered in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game into extra innings.
The momentum shifted in West Lincoln’s favor with the first pitch from Bandys’ Taylor Sigmon in the top of the eighth. West Lincoln short stop Karsen Leonhardt blasted a double down the third base line, followed by a groundout by Courtney Clark and a strikeout by Brittany Ormand.
With two outs, pitcher Rylee Marsh roped a fastball up the middle of the field to bring the game-winning run across home plate.
The Lady Rebels’ win over Bandys, the No. 1 seed out of the Catawba Valley Athletic Conference, pits West Lincoln against the North Lincoln Lady Knights in a cross-county third-round matchup on Friday. The two teams split their regular season games, with North Lincoln beating the Lady Rebels 7-0 on Mar. 19 and West Lincoln taking a 2-1 decision on Apr. 17.
Neither West Lincoln or Bandys had a batter reach first base safely until the bottom of the second. Bandys’ third baseman Bre Jones hit a single to left field and Jessica Younger drew a walk from Marsh to put runners at first and second with one out.
The Lady Rebels’ defense got Marsh out of the jam with right fielder Katie Hivley’s running catch of Kathleen Reardon’s pop up for the second out and a backhanded grab by Leonhardt in shallow left field to end the inning.
West Lincoln got its first runner in scoring position in the top of the fourth. Clark drew a walk to lead off the inning. Ormand dropped a bunt down the third baseline and as the Lady Trojans were scrambling to get the force-out at first base they left third wide open. Clark rounded second base and was able to beat the throw to reach third base safely. But the Lady Rebels were unable to capitalize as the next two batters hit groundballs straight into the glove of the Bandys third baseman.
The Lady Rebels posted their first run in the top of the fifth. Madison Ferguson smacked a single to right field on the first pitch and West Lincoln brought in Brook Hudson as a pinch runner. Taylor Short drew a two-out walk to put runners at the corners.
Leonhardt hit a hard ground ball to third base that Bandys booted away, allowing Hudson to score.
Marsh picked up the win for the Lady Rebels on the mound. She struck out four batters, walked four and gave up eight hits. The Lady Rebels had five hits during the game.