ANDERSON — Newberry swept Anderson in the very vital final doubleheader of the regular season with wins of 9-4 and 4-3 to secure the No. 3 seed for the 2018 South Atlantic Conference Softball Championship.
The Wolves started the day off with Tori Caldwell being walked. Sydney Patterson grounded out, but moved Caldwell to second. Anderson then walked Natalie Willis. Haley Simonds followed in Patterson’s shoes putting the runners on second and third.
Paige Meyer found herself on base via a walk. Another walk, this time of Haley Wildes, would reload the bases after scoring Caldwell for the Wolves’ first runs of the game. This early performance chased starting Anderson pitcher from the mound.
A Morgan Wagaman single to second base would push Wildes to second, Meyer to third, and round Willis. The early 2-0 Newberry lead would put the pressure on Anderson to respond.
The Trojans were only able to secure one run over the course of the following two innings, catching up to the Wolves making it a tie ball game. Newberry would add a run in the third on a Wildes single to right field to score Willis who had previous doubled down the left field line and ended up on third via a ground out.
Newberry found their footing in the fourth and let it be known to all in attendance that they wouldn’t go down without a fight. The four runs the Wolves were able to add were indicative of their aggressive strategy and mindset.
Senior Allison Van Atta started the half inning off with a single to center field. Daphne Peyton’s at bat propelled pinch runner Ashley Willis to second base. Caldwell singled to third base and A. Willis found her way to third. Patterson and N. Willis would both reach on fielder’s choices as Willis would advance to second on an error committed by the catcher.
During this wacky series Newberry brought home A. Willis and Caldwell with Patterson on third base. Simonds deep single to center field wedged itself perfectly to score a pair of Wolves in N. Willis and Patterson. The lead for Newberry would now sit at 7-2.
As Tatum Johnson entered the game to pinch run for Simonds, the Wolves took their aggressive base running up another level. Due up next was Meyer who doubled to left field and landed Johnson on third. Wildes reached base on a fielder’s choice as Meyer made her way to third, and Johnson was out on the play at home. Wildes was later called out at second, caught stealing by the catcher to the shortstop.
A pair of insurance runs were tacked on in the sixth by the Wolves thanks to a double by Simonds to bring home N. Willis and Patterson.
The Trojans were limited by Newberry’s defense which was led by Alyssa Ball. Ball went the length and only gave up two more runs for the final 9-4 Wolves victory. For her 12th win on the season, she faced 34 batters and only gave up 11 hits and four runs.
Game Two was a more tightly contested match-up, but Newberry proved too tough as Anderson committed two errors trying to stop the Wolves. Chelsey Cunningham would spearhead the charge for Newberry taking the win for her sixth on the season.
Cunningham’s four innings in the circle against 21 Trojan batters would allow only three runs before she was relieved by senior Emily Marchbanks who tallied her second save against 10 batters.
Scoring for Newberry began in the second inning with Wagaman carrying her hitting into Game Two with a crucial single to the shortstop that rounded Meyer to open the scoring up for the Wolves. Simonds followed an inning later with another double that scored three of her teammates and led her to third on the throw.
Anderson’s two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth proved futile as Newberry’s defense forced Trojan batters from the batter’s box.
The Wolves conclude the regular season with an overall record of 30-18 and 11-9 in the SAC. The single elimination 2018 SAC Softball Championship will be played at Anderson’s Softball Complex with games beginning on Friday, Apr. 27 at 10:00 a.m. Newberry will play in the final game of the day against No. 6 Queens at 5:30 p.m.