Local Results for May 9: Predators advance to Upper State championship
Fox Creek 4
In the words of Fox Creek High School softball coach David Bell, Wednesday’s elimination game on the road against Lewisville was “a barn burner.” His team got a big-time pitching performance from Stephanie Bloedel, outstanding defense behind her and clutch hitting to allow Fox Creek to beat Lewisville and advance to the Upper State championship game.
The win avenged a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Lewisville on Monday. Bell credited his team with a better performance in the win-or-go-home game.
“We hit the ball better this time. We were more aggressive on the bases,” Bell said of the narrow victory that sets up a showdown at Dixie for the Upper State title. Fox Creek (21-6-1) must win two games to just one for Dixie to advance to the Class A state championship series.“It was a good ballgame to watch. Stephanie pitched a heck of a game.”
Bloedel, the Predator ace, tossed another complete game, recording nine strikeouts in the win. She was supported by strong defense, as Hanna Culpepper made what Bell described as a “Willie Mays catch,” to save two runs from scoring. That allowed Fox Creek time to grind out runs on offense. Nicole Gibson had a double and Betty Zigati delivered one of the biggest hits, with a two-run single.
Gametime for the contest with Dixie is still being determined but Bell said this was a milestone win for the Predator program.
“This is by far the furthest we’ve ever gone,” he said.
Silver Bluff 2
Silver Bluff saw its season come to an end in a lopsided loss to Dillon, but that didn’t take away from what was an impressive run to advance deep in to the Class AA Lower State playoffs.
The Bulldogs (14-2) ran into a buzzsaw of an offensive team and made matters worse with 12 errors. Junior pitcher Karly Kinard was tagged for 12 hits, including four home runs, surrendering 15 runs. But just one of those was an earned run because of all the defensive miscues.
“We had a lot of errors and that was the best hitting team we’ve faced. It snowballed on us, but it shows us where we need to be as a softball team,” Silver Bluff head coach Eric Hofstetter said. “We had a good run. Karly started to peak and that put us in position to do better.”
While Dillon’s offense dominated, the Bulldogs only runs came courtesy of a two-run single by Alexus Robertson. The bad news for Silver Bluff is that the season is over and all-star catcher Laini Frye will be lost to graduation. The good news is that the Bulldogs were a very young team this season and should return a strong core to make another run next year.