South Stanly softball advances to third round of state playoffs

Published 3:03 pm Saturday, May 11, 2024

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The South Stanly softball team faced a tougher challenge in Friday’s second-round 1A West state playoff game.

After easily dispatching a one-win team in the first round, the No. 3-seeded Rebel Bulls hosted a 17-win Elkin team which finished the regular season ranked 10th in the region.

South rallied from an early deficit and staved off a last-inning rally by the Buckin’ Elks to advance in the playoffs with a 5-3 home win.

Riley Dennis pitched five innings for the Bulls (14-5), striking out six with one walk and allowing one earned run on two hits. Kinsley Tyson allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts in two innings of relief.

Lily Robbins took the loss for Elkin (17-8) allowing five earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.

Elkin took an early lead with a two-out RBI single from catcher Leah White, but South rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the third.

Madelyn Tucker led the inning off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly from Mary-Ryan Hinson. Jane Lee then delivered an RBI single to put South up 2-1.

A diving catch on a bunt delivered by South third baseman Cassidy Smith stopped a fifth-inning rally by the Elks.

“I saw that we needed an out, so I went all out,” Smith said.

A three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth proved timely for the Bulls. Piper Huneycutt, Ashleyn Tucker and Madelyn Tucker each drove in a run to put the hosts up 5-1.

Elkin had five hits and scored two runs in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded and two outs, Tyson struck out Karly Gentry to end the game and send the Bulls to the third round.

Lee was 2-for-3 with a double. Madelyn Tucker also had a 2-for-3 night at the plate.

“I knew (Elkin) was good and we had to scrap,” South head coach David Poplin said. “Playing at home gives us a little bit of an edge.

“We’re still working to assume an identity, but we’re scrapping.”

South Stanly will take on No. 11 seed and fellow Yadkin Valley Conference foe Union Academy Monday night. The Cardinals (16-7) went on the road to No. 6-seeded Bethany and won 7-0.

South and Union Academy split the regular season series between the two teams, then the Bulls topped the Cardinals 4-3 in the finals of the YVC tournament.

“We have to go into that game very open-minded, like it’s 0-and-0,” Smith said, referring to the three previous games. “We have to go in there with a positive mindset.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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