One step closer.
Daniel High defeated Darlington 4-0 in Game One of the Class AAA state softball championship series Friday night at Glenda Stone Field at Nettles Park, moving one game closer to earning the title.
The Lions scored in the first and were never caught, giving them chance to clinch the crown when the teams meet again at 6 p.m. Monday in Darlington.
“We were able to jump on the scoreboard and send a message,” Daniel coach Kate Floyd said. “Obviously, both teams were trying to do that, but we were fortunate enough to get those two runs to go in our favor.”
Jenna Carnes singled up the middle, and Dakota Crane laced a single off of the left field fence. Both runners moved up on an errant throw to the infield, and Ashton “Brusier” Martin singled to center for the 2-0 lead.
The score remained the same until the fourth inning when Martin led off with a single. Anna Lightsey followed with a double, putting runners on second and third for Rebecca Scott. Scott hit a flyball to center, and both runs scored on a misplay.
Daniel pitcher Carley Hoover struck out 18 and faced only three batters over the minimum.
Daniel won the first game of the 2012 state championship before losing the final two to Hartsville, and Floyd said she is trying to stress to her team that Darlington is capable of the same kind of comeback.
“We’ve been here before,” Floyd said, “and that’s what I told them: ‘You just took the first game of state, but Darlington has been there before, too. They lost to Hartsville in the first game of Lower State and came back and twice.’
“We’re going to get back together Sunday and work on hitting this type of pitching some more and we’re going to go on Monday and try to take care of business like we have been. Monday has to be the best game of the season for us.”