Lady Gators pull one out against rival
The opening round of the Goose Creek-Stratford softball rivalry produced a dramatic ending on Monday at GCHS.
The Lady Gators manufactured the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning without hitting the ball out of the infield, and Stratford’s defense led to its undoing in Goose Creek’s 1-0 victory. Kylie Vorhis raced around from second base to score the winner with one out following a booted ball at shortstop, the third of three costly errors by the Lady Knights in the seventh.
“It was a mental battle,” said GCHS coach Kerry Grimm, whose team improved to 4-9 overall. “Everyone was amped up. This was an overdue win. We needed it from the start.”
And her team got fortunate at the end.
In the seventh, Vorhis reached when Stratford’s first baseman came off the bag to receive a routine throw from third base and then moved to second when the Lady Knights’ second baseman failed to corral a relay throw from the shortstop on what could have been a double-play grounder.
Candice Burton then rolled one to shortstop but it got away. Vorhis rounded third and scored ahead of a throw to the plate, setting off a celebration by the home team.
It was the Lady Gators’ first region victory this season. Goose Creek (1-3 region) gets a chance at another region win at Cane Bay on Friday. The Lady Cobras won the last meeting 1-0.
“There were so many key plays,” Grimm said.
None were more clutch than the Lady Gators’ unconventional double play in the top of the seventh inning. Goose Creek nailed a Stratford runner at the plate after getting an out at first base on a grounder to shortstop.
Lady Gators pitcher Ashlyn Ryan was able to work around Stratford’s only other decent scoring opportunity in the fourth inning. Jordan Prince led off with a double for Stratford but Ryan coaxed a pair of pop outs and a strikeout to squash the threat.
“She hit her spots, never two fastballs in a row,” Grimm said. “She threw the drop, the curve and a change. She went through the whole gamut of pitches.”
Stratford’s Kasie Red was the hard-luck loser inside the circle. She limited the Lady Gators to just four hits and had navigated around Goose Creek’s other scoring threat in the fourth inning, getting a double play and groundout after the Lady Gators put runners on first and second with nobody out.
Stratford travels to Cane Bay on Wednesday and hosts Wando on Friday.
The two rivals will meet again on Friday, April 19 at Stratford.