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White Knoll Defeats Byrnes 2-1 In First game Of AAAAA Softball Title Series

White Knoll Defeats Byrnes 2-1 In First game Of AAAAA Softball Title Series

By Chris Dearing

Special Writer

Columbia--White Knoll is one win away from claiming it’s first-ever softball state championship after a 2-1 victory over defending Class AAAAA champion Byrnes Monday night at home.

The Timberwolves have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series with Game Two slated to be played Wednesday night at Byrnes.

““We have to stay within ourselves,” White Knoll coach April Farr said. “We control our own destiny, work hard, stayed poised, stay focused and stay tough on defense. Then get enough hits to help our pitcher.”  

Pitching and defense was the name of the game for White Knoll.  

Andrea Lyon pitched a three-hitter and never faced trouble until the seventh inning thanks to solid play defensively. The Timberwolves turned in three spectacular plays in the early innings to keep the Rebels attack at bay.

The winning run came on Lyon’s solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, which made it 2-0 at the time. It cleared the tree line in left field for her 12th long ball this year.

“That’s definitely one of the longest I’ve ever seen hit here,” Farr said.

Lyon finished with two strike outs, so she turned to her defense to back her pitching. Hannah Goodwin got things started with a running catch on a ball in short left field to open the second inning.

Maddie Miller added a bare-handed play from third that just nipped a runner at first to end the third inning. Shelby Davies turned in several key stops at second including an inning ending double play on a line drive that ended the sixth inning. White Knoll played errorless defense.

“We’ve had times were strike outs and pitching have been there, but our defense has really been solid, and our pitcher knows they have her back,” Farr said. “I told them when we get to this round, we have to be prepared for more defense and more balls hit to us. We responded.”

Byrnes (25-3) left the tying run on third in the seventh inning. Haven Pesce doubled and Amber Campbell singled to put runners on second and third with no outs. A line drive and two ground balls to Davies ended the game.

“We were really good on defense,” Lyon said. “We knew they were going to put it in play and the defense had my back the entire game.”

White Knoll (30-2) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Ginna Leaphart was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a single by Lyon and advanced to third when Maddie Miller was hit by a pitch. Leaphart scored when Libby Williams’s grounder to short was misplayed.

Byrnes played without standout pitcher Kasey Widmyer. She suffered a hand injury in Friday’s upper state championship title game and had her hand completely covered in Monday’s pre-game.

Freshman Haylee Whitesides did her best keeping the high-scoring White Knoll offense at bay. She pitched out of jams in the second and third innings. She got a break on a play in the fourth when a run was taken off the board after Bri Workman was ruled out of the batter’s box, forcing all three runners to go back to their respective bases. A 1-2-3 double play ended that threat.

“We talk all the time about not being a one-person team,” Byrnes coach Brandi Aiken said. “We’ve always had players step up. Losing a .550 batting average and 50 RBIs pitcher with a 24-1 record is disheartening. But we’re more than capable of beating anyone we play without one player. I feel like we’ll be a better team the next seven innings.”





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