South Stanly rallies to win 4-3 over Bear Grass charter in walkoff fashion

After breezing through the first four rounds of the NCHSAA playoffs by a combined score of 42-3, the top-seeded South Stanly softball squad twice appeared on the ropes in its Western Regional championship series, trailing South Stokes late in both games before pulling out last-at-bat wins.

In Friday’s opening tilt of the NCHSAA state championship series at UNC Greensboro, the Bulls once again scored a final-round knockout, plating three runs in the bottom of the seventh to stun Eastern Regional Champion Bear Grass Charter 4-3.

Unable to break the goose egg despite moving runners into scoring position four straight innings starting in the second, South fell behind 2-0 in the top half of the sixth when Bear Grass left fielder Alana Scott doubled in Emilee Perry and Macy Bowen, both of whom had reached on infield singles.

The Bulls halved the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Mattie Poulos led off the inning with a hit, and later scored on Mary-Ryan Hinson’s two-out double.

The Bears extended the lead to 3-1 in the top of the seventh on a solo homer by third baseman Mady Hall, setting the stage for South Stanly’s third consecutive exhibition of last-minute heroics.

Bulls left fielder Kinsley Tyson led off the inning with an infield single, but started for second as the ball rolled away before attempting to return to first. Bears catcher Addison Dotson, backing up the play, made a diving tag to retire Tyson for the inning’s first out.

But what at first appeared to be a momentum-killer was quickly forgotten when Kassie Swink and Alexis Harward reached on consecutive infield singles. Bowen then fanned Emma Campbell for the second out, bringing cleanup hitter Mattie Poulos to the plate.

Faced with whether to pitch to the power-hitting Poulos, Bear Grass head coach Danny Webb went against conventional strategy, choosing to issue an intentional walk, which placed the potential winning run on base.

The move brought Cassady Smith, who had already singled twice, to the plate. Smith blasted a two-strike delivery from Bowen off the right field fence, clearing the bases and vaulting the Bulls to another walk-off win.

South coach David Poplin emphasized that the win was still a full-team effort.

“Ali (Glover) did a tremendous job in the circle, and ended up with 16 strikeouts,” he said. “Kinsley Tyson made a huge defensive play (a diving catch in the fifth inning), and hit the ball well, too.”

“And, on most high school fields, Cassady would have had two home runs,” Poplin added.

Game Two is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at UNC Greensboro.

BGC 0 0 0   0 0 2  1 – 3 7 2
SS    0 0 0   0 0 1  3 – 4 9 0

Pitching:
WP: Ali Glover 7 IP, 7 H, 16K
LP: Macy Bowen 7 IP, 9 H, 3K

Hitting:
Bear Grass Charter: Mady Hall 3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI; Emilee Perry 2-4; Alana Scott 1-1, 2 RBI.
South Stanly: Cassady Smith 3-4, 3 RBI; Kinsley Tyson 2-3.