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SUMTER, S.C.—Brunswick County reached the final six before losing 11-1 in six innings Monday night to host Sumter in the Dixie Debs Softball World Series.
Brunswick, representing North Carolina for the second straight year, opened the tourney by beating Tennessee 4-2 on Saturday at the Bobby Richardson Complex. It lost 5-2 to Louisiana on Sunday morning. In a loser-out game that night in the rain, Brunswick blew a 9-1 lead in the seventh inning before beating Arkansas 10-9 in eight innings. That victory advanced Brunswick to another loser-out game, but this time host Sumter, with hundreds of fans in attendance, prevailed.
“They’re a good team,” Brunswick manager Jeff Carter said about Sumter. “They have about seven girls already in college playing on that team.
“We came out flat and didn’t hit the ball. We didn’t get a hit until the sixth inning.”
Brunswick finished fifth in the series. Last year, Brunswick was 0-2 in the series. Carter is hopeful the team can make another run for the series. Heather Carter and Courtney Clewis are the only two who will be age ineligible, Carter said.
But this likely was Carter’s last game with the Debs’ age group (16-18) for a while.
“I don’t know that I’ll coach this age group next year,” he said. “I’ll probably coach Belles next year (13-15).”
Carter said he intends to continue to assist with the West Brunswick High School softball team. But he steps aside proud of what this group has accomplished.
“They had a good tournament,” he said. “We played for the state championship four years in a row. To be able to come back (to the series) two years in a row, there is nothing to hang your head about. They wanted to do better than they did last year, and they did.”
Below are summaries of the three previous games.
Brunswick opened the series by beating Tennessee 4-2 Saturday.
Pitchers Heather Carter, Kelsi Bailey and Sheniqua Harrison gave up three hits and two walks. Brunswick made one error.
Brunswick, the visiting team, scored in the first. Stacy Jackson walked and stole second. Heather Carter reached on an error. In the attempt to throw out Jackson at third, there was an overthrow and Jackson scored.
Brunswick scored in the third in taking a 2-0 lead. Carter led off with a walk. She was forced out at second on a ball hit by Harrison, but in the attempt for the double play, the fielder threw the ball into the dugout and Harrison advanced to second. Lucia Bowling then hit a pop fly behind third base into left field. The shortstop made a running catch and tried to double up Harrison at second, but the throw was wild, the ball landing in right field. The overthrow allowed Harrison to score.
Tennessee scored in the bottom of the fourth on a single and a triple.
Brunswick scored twice in the sixth in taking a 4-1 lead. Kayanna Causey walked. Courtney Clewis singled. Jackson doubled, scoring both.
Tennessee scored a run in the bottom of the seventh but the rally fell short.
Louisiana scored the most runs any team had scored so far against Brunswick in the state championship tournament and the World Series in taking a 5-2 victory Sunday morning.
Neither team scored in the first two innings. Second baseman Stacy Jackson got the first out in the second inning by running to right field to make the catch. The inning ended when center fielder Lucia Bowling made a running catch of a ball hit to short center field.
Heather Carter pitched the first three innings, allowing no hits and no runs. She struck out three and walked one.
Brunswick had a chance to score in the bottom of the third when a one-out single by Paige Ward, a walk to Kelsi Bailey and a single by Alexis Johnson loaded the bases. But the inning ended in a strikeout and a groundout.
Against reliever Bailey in the fourth, Louisiana scored two runs. A walk and a two-out single gave Louisiana two baserunners. Ashlea Hart then lined a single off the glove of Brunswick third baseman Emily Gore. The ball was hit so hard it ricocheted off the glove into short left field. Two runs scored.
In the bottom of the inning with one out, Carter and Sheniqua Harrison singled. But a forceout and a popup ended the inning.
The lead went to 4-0 in the fifth against reliever Harrison when Dakota Duncan doubled with two outs.
Brunswick scored its only runs in the sixth. Kayanna Causey led off with a walk and Courtney Clewis reached on a drag bunt. Stacy Jackson was safe on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Harrison doubled inside the third-base line, driving home two runs.
Louisiana’s final run came in the seventh on a home run to center by Hart, the winning pitcher.
Brunswick blew a 9-1 lead in the seventh but scored a run in the eighth to beat Arkansas in a thrilling loser-out game Sunday night.
“You couldn’t sit down and script what happened,” manager Jeff Carter said about the game. “I have never been in involved in anything like that.”
Brunswick batted around in the first inning. Stacy Jackson led off with a double, the ball hitting the top of the outfield fence. After a bunt by Heather Carter, Sheniqua Harrison doubled home two runs. Lucia Bowling and Emily Gore walked, loading the bases. A groundout by Anna Hart batted in a run. Blair Savoca doubled in two runs for a 5-0 lead. With two outs, Kelsi Bailey singled in a run. Alexis Johnson reached on an error, and a single by Kayanna Causey drove in the final run of the inning for a 7-0 lead.
In the second, Carter led off with a single and Harrison followed with a single. Bowling reached on a fielder’s choice. Gore then drove in Harrison. Hart, reaching on a fielder’s choice, drove in Bowling, giving Brunswick a 9-0 lead.
Bailey, who pitched the first three innings, and reliever Jackson had kept Arkansas scoreless until the bottom of the sixth, when it scored on a bases-loaded walk.
In the rain in the bottom of the seventh, Arkansas rallied with one out. A home run cut the lead to 9-2. A hit batter, a single and two walks forced in a run. Two more walks forced in two more runs, cutting the lead to 9-4.
With lead 9-6, Carter came in to pitch. A walk and two hit batters tied the score.
The inning ended when shortstop Harrison fielded a groundball and threw to first for the out as the potential winning run was crossing the plate.
“If the girl had beat it out, we would have lost,” Carter said. “Sheniqua made a good play on a wet field. She set her feet and threw a strike to first (to Causey).”
Brunswick scored in the top of the eighth. With one out, Bowling was hit by a pitch. Gore singled. With two outs, Savoca hit a popup that landed behind the pitcher. Savoca was safe at first. With Bowling running, the first baseman tried to throw the ball to home but the wet ball slipped from her grasp. Bowling scored, giving Brunswick a 10-9 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Arkansas’ No. 4 hitter, who had homered earlier, led off and hit a popup to foul territory behind first.
“Stacy made an absolutely phenomenal play, diving into foul territory, catching a pop fly,” Carter said.
A groundout and a flyball to Clewis ended the game.
“It was the wildest game I’ve ever been a part of,” Carter said.