CLOVER — The Clover High School girls’ softball team were ready to return home Wednesday after Monday’s 10-0 loss to Boiling Springs.
The Bulldogs relied on the long ball to remain unbeaten in the playoffs, including two home runs off the bat of senior Katie Jacoby. Boiling Springs slugger Camry Taylor also homered, her 14th of the season.
Bulldog hurler Taylor Cabe, who has signed to play for Harvard next season, kept the Clover bats in check.
But the Blue Eagles had their moments. Home run threat Marisa Harkey was 2-for-2 against Cabe.
The Blue Eagles mounted a potential scoring threat in the final inning, with Katie Robinson reaching base on an infield hit and senior Paige Wallert delivering a single.
But it was not to be as the Bulldogs gained an Upper State championship berth for the fourth consecutive season.
“They took it to us,” CHS head coach Shea Hall said. “They had too many two-out hits.”
Hall said there was no lack of effort from a Clover team that was equal to the challenge in two previous playoff games.
“We will use this loss as we seek to rebound against Byrnes at home,” she said. The winner of that game Wednesday will play Boiling Springs on Friday. The results of Wednesday’s game came after the Enquirer-Herald’s deadline.
“Byrnes will give us a better fight this time,” said Hall. “They will be ready to play.”
To be successful in the playoffs, senior catcher Madison Tepfenhart, a dangerous hitter who is Newberry College-bound, said the Clover hitters need to put the bat on the ball.
“If we make contact and continue to play solid defense, things will fall into place,” said Tepfenhart.
The Lady Rebels marched into Blue Eagle Country Saturday afternoon riding the momentum of a gutsy come-from-behind win over Blythewood.
The CHS girls’ bats came alive and the result was a decisive 10-1 conquest of Byrnes before a noisy home crowd.
With the teams scoreless in the bottom of the third inning, Clover erupted for five runs with timely hitting.
“Our kids are stepping to the plate with confidence,” Hall said after the game. “The bottom of our lineup was struggling earlier in the year. Now, we’re hitting the ball up and down the lineup.”
Robinson, an eighth-grader, got things started with a double.
After Paige Wallert bunted Robinson to third, Byrnes was introduced to the Rhinehardt twins, Brittany and Brooke. Brittany singled home the first run of the game and Brooke followed with a single.
The visiting Rebels also got to know the Wallert sisters as Blake Wallert belted a two-run triple.
Then Harkey, a power-hitting sophomore, hit a two-run blast that cleared the left-centerfield fence with plenty to spare.
The Blue Eagles continued their scoring barrage in the fourth inning.
Once again, it was middle schooler Robinson leading off with a double to the base of the fence. Paige Wallert followed with a solid single and Brittany Rhinehardt a run-scoring single.
Blake Wallert closed out the scoring with a two-run single.
Clover plated two more runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by Brooke Rhinehardt’s two-run single.
While the Clover bats came alive in a huge way, Elizabeth Edmunds had another stellar performance on the mound.
“Elizabeth pitched a strong game,” said Hall. “Byrnes is capable of hitting with power. “We hit the ball and played defense.”
The Rhinehardt twins had a productive game at the plate and in the field. While both are fiercely competitive, each is supportive of the other.
“I want to move Brittany and my teammates around when they reach base,” said Brooke, a slick third-baseman.
“It’s exciting when we both contribute at the plate,” said Brittany, who made a big catch in center-field in the second inning. “We pride ourselves playing defense as a team.”
The Blue Eagles defeated defending state champ Hillcrest 4-1 in previous action on the Clover diamond last week.