UNION MILLS | When South Central escaped a bases-loaded, no outs jam in a three-error fifth inning with just one run allowed, it appeared the softball gods just might smile upon the host Satellites.
South Central was unable to solve Triton pitcher Mallorie Jennings, however, and fell 4-0 to the Trojans (23-7) in the a Class A regional final.
The championship is Triton’s first-ever softball regional title.
“No. 10, Jennings, she did a great job of pounding the strike zone and we had a hard time keeping up with her rise ball,” South Central coach Patrick Fuller said. “We swung at a couple (pitches) that maybe we shouldn’t have, but the girls battled and even though they were down they were (cheering) on the bench.”
Jennings allowed just three singles while striking out six in the complete game shutout. She also hit a two-run home run to cap Triton’s three-run seventh, which started on a single by Zoie Stephan and a one-out RBI single by Hannah Jennings.
Hannah Jennings drove in Triton’s first run of the game with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly to center field. The bases had been loaded with no outs thanks to three South Central errors, but Satellites pitcher Madi Walter was able to limit the damage by inducing back-to-back-to-back fly outs to center.
Walter, a Manchester recruit, went the distance for South Central, allowed seven hits and four runs, three earned, while walking just one and striking out eight.
The Satellites had four errors.
South Central (17-7) had the makings of a rally going to start the bottom of the seventh when a leadoff single by Mikayla Eaton and an error put two Satellites on with nobody out. The runners advanced to scoring position on a grounder to shortstop. With one out, Triton right fielder Lexee Lemler caught a line drive and then made a perfect throw to the plate to complete a 9-2 double play, ending the game and South Central’s season.
Fuller said there was no hesitation about sending the runner from third on the fly ball, trying to spark a two-out rally in the last inning.
“We were sending her all the way,” Fuller said. “We weren’t going to change the way we run the bases just because it’s the last out in the seventh (inning) of regionals. We’re aggressive on the base paths, and the right fielder made a great throw right on the money. There’s not a lot you can do about that.”