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Lewisville edges East Clarendon 9-7 in extras to take Class A softball state championship opener

Turbeville – Lewisville High School softball coach Jerry Thomas compared Monday’s opening game of the Class A state championship against East Clarendon to a “heavyweight slugfest.”

“You just hope you have it at the end,” he said.

It took a game-tying homer, nine innings and international tiebreaker rules, but Thomas’ Lady Lions prevailed – and are now one win away from their first title in school history.

Codi Horne and Ivy McCall combined to drive in three runs in the ninth inning to cap off a 9-7 victory over the Lady Wolverines and end a wild back-and-forth contest.

The best-of-three series shifts to Richburg on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. contest. If necessary, a third and deciding game will be played on Friday at a neutral site.

“I think both teams had some mistakes here and there,” Thomas said. “They gave (each other) a couple runs and there were some big balls hit. Both teams hit the ball.

“…We came out in the end, which was a good thing. We’re trying to make that history (with first title).”

It was a game in which the lead changed hands or was tied six times through the final seven innings. There were also a combined 19 hits including three home runs.

It was the final two base knocks for the Lady Lions that proved the difference. Lewisville began the ninth inning with a runner in scoring position, but was down to its final out with the bases loaded and no runs across yet.

Horne changed that with her fourth hit and fourth RBI of the night to break the deadlock. McCall followed with a two-run single that provided needed insurance as East Clarendon got a run back in the bottom of the ninth on Hannah Hickman’s run-scoring single.

“I was seeing the ball and being patient and waiting on my pitch,” Horne said. “She threw me a lot inside and just got on it.”

Aside from the final decisive inning, the biggest hit for Lewisville came in the top of the seventh inning with EC leading 6-5. The Lady Wolverines broke through in the sixth when Olivia Singletary reached on infield single then came home via two passed balls and an errant throw to third trying to get Singletary.

But with one out, Amber Bass stepped to the plate and hit the first offering from EC starting pitcher Marleigh Floyd over the left field wall to tie the game once again.

“That’s probably the best hit I’ve felt come off the bat,” Bass said. “But I definitely had the pressure on me, and sometimes I don’t like hitting with pressure, but I just wanted to make sure I stayed still in the box and tried driving it somewhere.

“It turned out great.”

Lady Wolverines head coach Lisa Ard admitted she wished she could take back the decision to pitch to Bass – who had hit one all the way to the wall in the first inning as well before it was caught.

“That was my fault,” Ard said. “We shouldn’t have let (Bass) hit again when I had my lead.”

Even so, Ard pointed to a number of self-inflicted wounds in a ninth inning where EC could have potentially come away unscathed.

An early infield grounder wasn’t converted into an out and a great catch in the outfield could have produced a double play with all of Lewisville’s baserunners well off their respective bags when it was gloved.

But the ball was kicked around a bit before returning to the infield and all the runners were deemed to have gotten back safely.

“We let them hang around,” Ard said. “We couldn’t get them all at the end. Like I said, if we don’t beat ourselves I think we’re ok.”

It took both teams a while to get their respective offenses going. Lewisville starting pitcher Chloe Thomas got things started in the third with an RBI single followed by a two-run blooper from Horne as the Lady Lions took an early 3-0 lead.

EC responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. Gracen Watts’ hard grounder to short skipped into the outfield, scoring Hannah Hickman and Caitlin Timmons to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Abby Reardon tied the game with one swing next inning with a towering homer for the Lady Wolverines over the left field fence.

Lewisville then took the lead right back, getting an RBI groundout from Chloe Thomas and an RBI triple from Horne.

EC answered again with another long ball – this time a two-run shot from Watts to knot the game at 5-5.

“She’s a step-up player,” Ard said of Watts. “She’s been here six years and she’s going to college to play. She steps up when it’s time.”

The Lady Lions scored four of the last six runs, however, to grab the series lead heading back home.

McCall had two hits for Lewisville while Alexis Odum scored three runs. Chloe Thomas finished with nine strikeouts in the circle.

Singletary and Elly Floyd had two hits each for EC.

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