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Laurence Manning Wins Second Straight SCISA Girl's Softball Title In 8 Innings Off Walk-off Single By Maggie Josey

Laurence Manning Wins Second Straight AAA SCISA Softball Title In 8 Innings Off Walk-off Single By Maggie Josie

By Billy G. Baker


Sumter—In the 8th inning, before one of the largest crowds to ever witness a SCISA state softball finals in South Carolina at Lakewood High on May, 17, rivals Laurence Manning (26-9-1) and Wilson Hall (22-16) battled on every pitch and every swing, with LMA winning back-to-back AAA titles, 3-2 on a walk-off single by sophomore Maggie Josey.

LMA head coach Maria Rowland (519-170) was wiping tears from her eyes and hugging fans and players when the game was over. “This is amazing and this one is super special,” she said. “It is special because it is the first time in my career I have had a team win back-to-back championships.

“In this particular series Josey has been amazing and I am so proud of her. She killed that ball and it was no doubt when it left her bat that it was the winning hit,” said Coach Rowland. “We overcame some errors tonight and we left a lot of runners on base but still we were able to pull it out and I am so proud of all of my players. Everyone of my players are special to me and they know it.  They all know their role on the team. 

“We had to overcome some selfishness this season and even the players on the bench are so important to our program and they are just important to us as Liz Hussey, Abbie Beard or Maggie Josey and I could go right on down the line,” said Coach Rowland. “I am excited for all my players and each and every one of them had a role in our success.” Coach Rowland, the 2017 HSSR-SCISA Statewide Softball Coach of the Year, said that Wilson Hall battled them all series. “We knew it was not going to be easy and that we had to overcome a lot of adversity to win another title and we knew that Wilson Hall would be highly competitive and that they would not quit. God put us in our place yesterday (loss to Wilson Hall) with our six errors and Wilson Hall came back and evened the series. Maybe we were a little cocky after the first win. I told the girls coming in to this game that we had to tone it down, regroup, and stay focused and we played much better.”

Josey, who has been selected to the 2017 HSSR All-rookie team, said she got a fast ball right down the middle on a 2-1 count. “I got a good look at it and I swung as hard as I could,” she said. “Getting the winning hit was an unreal feeling and coming into the game I had no idea that I would be the one at the bottom of the dog pile (near first base) when the game ended. I am just so excited for the team and this is an unreal feeling.”

Wilson Hall head coach Teresa Alexander, just completed her 10th season with the Barons and she has two state titles to her credit. Coach Alexander was proud of her  team’s effort and she also said some nice things about LMA’s win after an emotional 20 minute huddle talk with her team after the game. “I congratulate Laurence Manning and when these games are as close as they have been it is all about getting the right hit at the right time and they earned their victory.  I am proud of the way my girls played the whole game. The other team didn’t win because we hande dit to them with errors or with a bad play and they flat-out earned it tonight.

“It was a close ball game with two evenly matched teams and they got the big hit when they need it most. We have only one senior on the team (Danielle Dehall) and we will return 8 juniors for next season so we have a lot to look forward to competing for a state title next year. What Danielle brings to this team mentally it will take the other 8 rising seniors to make up for her next season. I would love to see us back here again next year.”   

Sophomore Liz Hussey has been selected the HSSR-SCISA Statewide Softball Player of the Year for her outstanding season and her play in the state title series. “I am still shaking from this game,” she said a few minutes after the game.  “This feeling is amazing right now. There is a lot of pressure on you when you are in the circle but I just stay focused and I barely even hear the crowd yelling. I don’t hear a thing and it is just me and Bailey (Elms) playing catch.

“We played together as a team and we came into the game with the “we got this one” attitude,” said Hussey. “We hope to win it again next year.”  

After seven innings the game was tied at two as the 800 fans witnessing the game seemed to live and die with every pitch and every swing of the bat. In the 8th inning the international tie breaker rule went into effect with a runner placed at second base to start the inning. LMA pitcher Liz Hussey struck –out the first two Wilson Hall batters she faced in the 8th and then a third batter grounded out to the cheers of the fans from LMA.

Ashton Rogers manned second base to start the LMA 8th and she moved to third on a passed ball. Then finality came to the game when sophomore 8 hole hitter Maggie Josey etched her name in her school’s softball history books when she hit a line drive to the right center field power alley for a walk-off single as fans and players rushed to home plate as the raw emotions of the accomplishment were being celebrated.

This game had more twist and turns then Chubby Checkers original hit song “Twist & Shout”.  In all honesty both teams deserved to win. There were three lead changes, hit batters, controversial calls, ripped singles and doubles, stellar defensive plays, and routine errors.  In fact, it had all the makings of a game fit for an ESPN Classic replay.

Hussey and junior Drake Ives of Wilson Hall both pitched well with Hussey striking out 8 and Ives fanning seven. LMA collected 8 hits for the game to Wilson Hall’s six.

LMA scored first in the second inning as Ashton Rogers led off with a single to right field. Josie walked and then Brooke Ward’s sac bunt moved the runners to second and third. A passed ball stole then scored Rogers from third. 

Wilson Hall came back in the third to tie the game at one when Carly Allred reached on an over-throw to first which allowed her to advance to second. Maddie Elmore then hit a ground ball and another throwing error put her on base and scored Allred with the game’s first run. A single by Danielle DeH

oll put runners on first and third with one out. Hussey then struck out Sydney Jarecki and got Liza Lowder to ground out to get out of the inning.

Wilson Hall took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning sending seven batters to the plate. Jarecki started the inning with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt by Becka Noyes. A single by Kathryn Sistare put runners at first and third with one out. A single by Madison Sliwonick drove in Jarecki to give the Barons the lead.

This score held up until LMA came to bat in the bottom of the 7th down a run. Baylee Elms reached on a hit by pitch to start things off and she moved to second on a passed ball. Two batters later Abbie Beard crushed a double into the power alley that scored Elms to tie the game.



© 2017 High School Sports Report

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