Stratford High School’s margin for error in the softball playoffs has disappeared.
The Lady Knights came up short on Saturday, falling 5-2 to Bluffton in the Class AAAA Lower State tournament. Stratford (20-9) hosts Summerville in an elimination game on Monday. The Lady Green Wave lost to Wando, 3-2.
“It’s like I told them, you win and you’re still in,” Stratford coach Debra Tolar said. “You lose, you’re through… We hope to be playing Wednesday.”
Bluffton’s Courtney Smith dominated for the Lady Bobcats (25-3). She was 4 for 4 with a pair of RBI doubles and also tossed a complete game, allowing four hits and striking out nine batters. Morganne Parker and Jordyn Parker added two hits each for Bluffton, which hosts Wando on Monday.
Fallon Tingler threw the first three innings for Stratford, giving up five hits and three runs. Nikki Linthicum hurled the final four, allowing six hits and two runs.
Emily Harmon led Stratford with two hits and Megan Lindberg had an RBI single.
Bluffton scored single runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings after Stratford scored its lone two runs to tie it 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning.
“It was a great wakeup call,” Tolar said. “We had won eight games in a row. Maybe we got a little lackadaisical.”
The Lady Bobcats struck quickly. In the top of the first inning, Jordyn Parker tripled to right field and came home on the same play on a throwing error. Lilli Otten had an RBI single later in the inning make it 2-0.
Stratford evened the score in the bottom of the second. Jordan Prince led off with a walk, moved to second on a sac bunt and came home on a throwing error. Lindberg tied the score by lacing one down the third-base line to score Madison Ryan.
Smith’s first RBI double in the third gave Bluffton a 3-2 lead and Jordyn Parker’s RBI single in the fourth upped the Lady Bobcats’ advantage to 4-3.
Smith gave herself some insurance with an RBI double to right center in the seventh inning.
Bluffton 201 100 1 – 5 11 1
Stratford 020 000 0 – 2 4 3