Lady Vols, Lady Warriors see seasons end

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By The Staff

A pair of upstart Chesterfield County teams halted the postseason softball runs of Andrew Jackson and Indian Land on Wednesday afternoon.

The McBee Lady Panthers edged the IL Lady Warriors 3-2 and the Cheraw Lady Braves downed AJ 4-2 to eliminate the teams from the prep playoffs.Indian Land, which split four games with Conference III-A rival McBee this season, saw the Lady Panthers erase an early 1-0 lead with a single run in the in the second inning and a pair of runs in the third inning to forge a 3-1 edge.The Lady Warriors, with one swing, closed the gap as Paige Brugh belted a sixth-inning solo home run to open the frame to make it 3-2, but the Lady Panthers held on for the win.McBee, the Conference III-A runner-up to IL, advances to face Chesterfield County Class A rival Chesterfield High today in the Class A Upper State title game.IL, which finished 18-11, made three errors in the game.“This was a tough loss and our errors hurt us,” Indian Land High coach Monica Barfield said. “Our bats weren’t as lively as we needed them to be.“Our hitting has been a question in our last few games,” Barfield said. “It really hurts to lose.”In addition to Brugh’s home run, Kristin Campbell and Beth Martin each had a hit for the Lady Warriors.Campbell, in taking the loss, allowed four hits and three walks. She struck out three. Kimber Coley worked the final two innings and fanned four.The game was the final contest for IL seniors Coley, Jacquelyn Delaune and Ashley Vitek.IL and McBee split two regular-season games before the Lady Warriors won a special play-off contest at Andrew Jackson High last month to decide the Conference III-A champion.Lady Braves edge AJCheraw halted Andrew Jackson’s two-year run as the Class AA state softball champion, ousting the Lad Vols from the playoffs with a 4-2 victory at the Lady Braves’ field on Wednesday.CHS now faces Hanahan today, needing two wins to take the Class AA Lower State title.The Lady Braves’ win broke a 10-game losing streak to AJ going back five seasons.Cheraw snapped a scoreless draw with three runs in the third and stayed on top for the win.AJ sliced the gap to 3-2 with a two-run rally in the fourth inning, but the Lady Braves answered with a run in the sixth.“We didn’t get the key hits and that’s been a factor all season,” AJ coach Steve Middleton said. “It’s been a tough season, a down year by our standards, but a great year for a lot of other teams.”AJ sophomore hurler Chelsea Vincent took the loss, allowing six hits and three walks. She fanned five.Cheraw hurler Leslie Hensley struck out five to post the win for the Lady Braves.AJ junior shortstop Tristan Faile, who went 11-15 with four walks in postseason play, had a single, double and scored a run.Chelsea Holden had a hit and drove in a run for the AJ girls, who finished 20-11. Vincent also had a RBI for the Lady Vols.The Lady Vols’ 20 wins this spring gave them seven straight 20-win seasons.“We didn’t win the state title, but we continued our tradition,” Middleton said. “In the middle part of the season, we lost six of eight games, but we keep battling and never lost our focus.“We battled to the final out as we have all season, but it wasn’t our day,” Middleton said. “We’ve had a great run and our two seniors, Tessa Faile and Caroline Phillips, have been two mainstays in our success.“I also have to tip my hat to our fans because they have been tremendous and been behind our team the whole season.”Phillips, who has signed with Florence-Darlington Tech to play softball there, and Faile will represent AJ in the annual North-South All-Star softball tournament next month in Aiken.Buford High School softball coach Sam Page will serve as an all-star coach.