CLOVER — The Clover High School girls’ softball team has assumed a familiar role in the early stages of the season – defending its Region 3-AAAA championship.
Such was the case March 26, when the Lady Bearcats of Rock Hill visited Blue Eagle Country. The CHS girls defeated Rock Hill 16-0 to remain unbeaten in region play at 4-0.
“I thought our kids were sharp,” head coach Shea Hall said. “They put it all together, pitching, hitting and defense. They were focused.”
Pitcher Elizabeth Edmunds shut down the Lady Bearcats in impressive fashion.
“Elizabeth pitched well,” Hall said. “We always tell Elizabeth that it starts with her.”
Marisa Harkey terrorized Rock Hill pitching with two home runs and a bases-loaded triple.
“Marisa is a power hitter and a smart hitter,” Hall said. “She knows how to make adjustments at the plate.”
The CHS coach also lauded the performance of Brooke Rhinehardt in her fist year behind the plate.
“Brooke is doing a great job for us,” Hall said. “She has a cannon for an arm.”
After moving ahead 2-0 in the first inning, highlighted by Harkey’s long home run to deep left-center, the home-standing CHS team expanded the lead with a productive second inning.
With one out, Hannah Curtis singled, with Emily George and Brittany Rhinehardt reaching base on errors.
After Curtis scored on a wild pitch, Blake Wallert delivered a run-scoring single. Later, with the bases loaded, Harkey ripped a three-run triple and Brooke Rhinehardt belted a run-scoring double.
Clover had another offensive surge in the third inning, highlighted by clutch hitting with runners on base by Michelle Aragon and Wallert.
Edmunds said she continues to pitch with confidence on the mound.
“I am pleased with my pitching at this stage of the season,” she said. “I try to stay ahead of the hitters and mix my pitches.”
Rhinehardt talked about her conversion from third base to catcher to fill the void left after Madison Tepfenhart graduated.
“I’m learning more each week and settling in behind the plate,” she said. “Elizabeth is an outstanding pitcher, which makes my job easier.”
Harkey, a power hitter with confidence, is beyond her years in breaking down the art of hitting.
“I turn my shoulder on the ball before I swing the bat,” she said.
The Lady Blue Eagles conclude a busy slate of games this week, hosting rival York beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, with JV starting at 5.
Then they’ll play at home against Northwestern at 11 a.m. Saturday in a game that was rained out last Saturday.
The Trojans are the preseason favorite to challenge Clover for region supremacy.