Lady Hilltoppers edge Erwin, 3-2
R-S Central softball made the most of their home-field advantage Friday night riding solid pitching and good luck en route to a 3-2 win over Erwin.
"We played some small ball and [Erwin] threw the ball around a little so we were able to scratch out a few runs," Central head coach Melvin Digh said after the win. "Luckily it was enough."
Erwin looked like they had the upper hand with a leadoff double to start the game but Shelby Smith worked out of the jam and escaped untouched.
Central drew first blood in the bottom of the third when Brandy Whitener stroked a double into left-center field scoring Katie McEntire.
Makayla Crawford followed with a ground ball that resulted in an error by the first baseman allowing Whitener to score and make it 2-0 in favor of the home team.
Erwin eventually got on the board in the fifth with impressive baserunning.
Jordan West scored from second on a Terri Melton bunt as she caught the Hilltopper infield napping.
Whitener took advantage of another Erwin error in the bottom half of the frame reaching third on a easy infield grounder.
Crawford flew one out to left field deep enough to score Whitener on a sacrifice, but she jumped off the base too soon prompting Digh to hold her at third.
Makayla Crain followed with a routine grounder that allowed Erwin to catch Whitener in a pickle between third and home. Luckily for Central, Erwin threw the ball away and Whitener crossed the plate making it 3-1.
Crain relieved Smith with two runners on and one out in the top of the sixth. She made quick work of Erwin striking out the next two batters to work out of the inning.
"Shelby did a great job but getting to the sixth they had been through their lineup about three times so I wanted to give them another look," Digh said. "They both come out and throw strikes so it's nice to have that."
The Lady Hilltoppers failed to build a cushion in the bottom of the sixth and Erwin made it interesting in the seventh.
Natalie Case led off with a walk but consecutive fielder’s choice grounders eased the threat with two outs and a runner on second.
Kayla McCarson cut the deficit to one with an RBI single scoring Terri Melton from second base and Crain walked the next batter to put the go-ahead run on base. But a slow dribbler back to Crain and a toss to first ended the game and sent the Hilltoppers into the second round with a 3-2 win.