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The Central Lady Eagles soared to the title in the second annual Lancaster County Classic preseason softball tournament on Saturday at Springdale Park.
The CHS girls, rated No. 1 in the latest Class AA state softball poll, capped a 5-0 tourney run with a 9-5 win over Class AAA Fort Mill.
Lady Eagles’ right-hander Katie Carnes, who was 4-0 in the tourney, struck out eight and allowed four hits and three walks in the title game.
Carnes boosted her cause with two hits and drove in a run.
The Lady Eagles were led by Destinie Funderburk who drilled three hits, including a double, and drove in a run. Brittany Hubbel had a hit and drove home three runs, while Emily Kennington had a hit and two RBIs.
Candice Wright, Carlee Belk and Ashley Chambers each had a hit for CHS.
Central held a 9-1 lead after four innings and held on for the win.
“We went into the tournament with the intention of winning,” CHS coach Kevin Thurman said. “At this time of year, you’re trying to get better with every game. This is a good tournament because of the quality competition you face from start to finish.”
In a nail-biter, comeback-minded Buford rallied in extra innings to down Andrew Jackson, 3-2 to claim third place.
Daphne Honeycutt’s two-out, two-run double tied the game in the top of the seventh.
An inning later, BHS, in international rules with a runner at second to start the frames, pushed across the winning run as Carley Bailey’s sac bunt tallied Hannah Knight for the winning run.
BHS’s Kelsi Moser, in eight frames, was the winner, allowing no walks and nine hits.
Kori Ballard took the loss, yielding five hits.
Kendall Boone laced a triple and Honeycutt drilled a double for Buford. Carson Mehaffey, Hannah Knight and Mikayla Hannah each had a hit.
The Vols were led by Jamee Blackmon, Tara Roberts and Haley Faulkenberry who had two hits each. Summer Truesdale, Chelsey Holden and Claire McManus each had a hit.
Indian Land, which downed Northwestern 6-4, went 3-2 to finish fifth, Northwestern was sixth. York, 3-2, was seventh after a 5-3 win over Lancaster.
The Lady Bruins, who went 2-3 with a 4-0 win over Buford, were eighth.
“This tournament helped us,” LHS first-year coach Kim Perry said. “We gained some good experience and we were a better team after we completed play here. We need to work on our consistency.”
Crestwood, which went 2-3, was ninth, with Lugoff-Elgin, 2-3, 10th ahead of Rock Hill, 1-4 and North Central which went 0-5.
“Even though North Central didn’t win a game in the tournament, they’re much improved over last season and will be dangerous this season,” AJ coach Steve Middleton said. “Katherine Small is making an impact with the Lady Knights.”
Middleton said the tournament went well.
“This is a good showcase for our county teams and great exposure for our sport,” he said. “This is an outstanding way for our high school softball season to get off to a good start.”