The Stratford softball team reached the District 7 title game with another sturdy defensive performance.
The Lady Knights turned a pair of double plays and pitcher Nikki Linthicum fanned six batters and scattered three hits in Stratford's 2-0 victory over North Augusta on Saturday in the Class AAAA playoffs.
Stratford (19-8) hosts Wednesday's district final against either North Augusta or Conway. The Lady Knights need one win in a potential two-game situation to make the Lower State final four, which begins May 10.
North Augusta (14-10) meets Conway in an elimination game on Monday.
“(Pitching and defense) was definitely the biggest factor,” said SHS coach Debra Tolar, whose team was coming off a 2-1 win over Colleton County on Thursday. “The first team scored just one run, and today they didn't score any. Our biggest problem today was leaving too many men on base.”
The Lady Knights manufactured a pair of runs in the first two innings without the benefit of a hit. Stratford loaded the bases in the first inning on a pair of walks and a fielder's choice but could only score when Kayli Miles swiped home on a throw back to the pitcher.
In the second, Stratford scored its other run on a fielding error.
Linthicum improved to 12-5.
North Augusta's Meghan Whitfield took the loss despite giving up just four hits.
The winner of District 7 will travel to meet the winner of District VIII in the first Lower State final four game.
Bluffton is the unbeaten District VIII team.
Wando (Dist. V) and Summerville (Dist. VI) are the other unbeaten in district play.