on May 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Seneca sunk by Warriors

GREER — Heading into action Wednesday, the Seneca High School softball team felt good about going into Riverside needing two victories to advance to the Upper State tournament this weekend, as the Bobcats boasted a 10-0 record away from home on the season.

However, the Warriors were almost equally as good at home, with just one loss in Greer all season, and kept it that way by defeating Seneca by a final score of 7-1 to knock the Bobcats out of playoff contention.

Riverside (14-5) had beaten the Bobcats in Seneca in the second round of the playoffs, and knew it had a tough task of possibly facing the Bobcats twice Wednesday, but head coach Casey Strange said her team felt plenty comfortable playing on its own field.

“They (Seneca) are road warriors and they’re a tough team to beat, but I felt positive going into it because all season we’ve only lost one game here,” she said.

It also didn’t hurt that the Warriors exploded for six runs in the bottom of the second inning, which Seneca head coach Rick Pate said made the difference in the loss.

“We got on our heels, but then we got off them and played better,” he said. “It was just that one inning where we gave up more runs than we should have and made it just out of reach, and they probably got in our heads a little bit.”

Seneca (17-5) started the inning by loading the bases full of Warriors, which included hits from Riverside’s Lauren Brailsford and Auzenas Rice.

Following a strikeout by starting pitcher Stephanie Mihaly, the Warriors plated their first run of the night when Brailsford was walked in for 1-0 Riverside lead.

Following the second out of the inning, Campbell Price and Jenna Farotto both came up with RBI singles, and Brailsford then smacked a two-RBI single into right field to bring the lead to 6-0.

And while Seneca’s pitching and defense fell back into rhythm following the inning, the bats never could heat up for the Bobcats, as they tallied just three hits on the night.

Catcher Olivia Piccirillo was able to drive an RBI double into the gap in right center field to score Annabelle Herron in the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough against Riverside starting pitcher Katie Sharpe, who finished the night with 10 strikeouts.

“She did a great job keeping us off balance, and stayed ahead in the count,” Pate said. “We just didn’t do a good job adjusting to what she was doing.”

The loss not only ended the Bobcats’ postseason run, but also saw the end of the Seneca careers of Mihaly, Meredith Mitchell, Leann Nix, Allison Pursley and Tisha Sword.

Mihaly, the reigning Daily Journal/Daily Messenger Golden Corner Player of the Year, has already signed on to continue her softball career at Furman, while Mitchell and Nix will also continue their careers at Georgia Perimeter and Southern Wesleyan, respectively.

And even in his first year on the job, Pate knows what his seniors contributed to the team during their tenure with the Bobcats.

“Four years ago when this group of seniors were freshmen, they were building up a program that had been down a little bit, and they’re the reason it’s where it’s at, and the reason it will be better when they leave,” he said.

Despite losing that wealth of experience, Pate said next year’s team should have better speed, and shouldn’t see much of a drop off around most of the diamond, which should hopefully have the Bobcats back on the way to their 2006 State Championship form.

“The seniors that move on we’ll miss, but we’ve got a good, young group coming back and we’re just going to get to work and get at it next year,” he said.

Riverside 7, Seneca 1

SHS 000 001 0 — 1 3 1

RHS 060 100 x — 7 9 0

Pitching

IP H R BB K

W — Sharpe 7 3 1 1 10

L — Mihaly 6 9 7 2 7

Hitting

SHS — Piccirillo, 1-3, 2B, RBI; Mitchell, 1-3.

RHS — Brailsford, 3-4, 3 RBI; Farotto, 2-4, RBI.