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Griffin’s late hit lifts Bulldogs past Byrnes

By Jed Blackwell/The Spartanburg Sports Report

Boiling Springs’ Shelby Griffin didn’t get much to hit against Byrnes on Tuesday night.

So when she saw one close, she went and got it.

Griffin pulled a low-and-away pitch to the fence in centerfield in the bottom of the seventh inning, plating Emily Hill from second and giving Boiling Springs a 2-1 win over Byrnes in a Region III-5A battle.

“She was throwing me very low, and I just took it where it was pitched,” Griffin said. “I thought she was coming in for a rise ball, but I saw it coming down and I had to take it. It felt pretty good. This was a big win. We’re sitting pretty good right now, and I hope it continues.”

“That’s probably the most disciplined at-bat Shelby’s had all year,” Boiling Springs head coach Randy Piazza said. “She stayed in, she kept her head down, found a pitch and drove it. We’ve been very fortunate she’s done that and come through for us a couple times this year.”

Griffin was heavily involved in Calli Richards’ masterpiece on the mound, too. Playing first base, Griffin took part in 15 putouts, as Richards frustrated the Lady Rebels by getting ground ball outs all evening. Richards allowed just three hits and seven baserunners on the night, with only three advancing past second base. She allowed three fly-ball outs – a soft popup to the shortstop on the grass behind second base, a foul ball out to right field and a pop-up to second.  The only fair ball to reach the outfield in the air was the Lady Rebels’ lone run, a solo blast to left field in the first inning by Kasey Widmeyer.

Widmeyer was nearly Richards’ equal on the mound. She cruised through the first five innings, with the only trouble she encountered coming in the second, when a single by Lindsey Edge, a walk to Griffin and Natallie Hazzard’s single loaded the sacks with one out. Richards had a sacrifice RBI to second and Widmeyer got out of the jam with a grounder to third.

Byrnes threatened in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with one out before a pair of ground balls retired the side. Boiling Springs countered with a sixth-inning rally, putting two on with two out before Widmeyer got a strikeout to end the threat.

The Lady Rebels put two more on in their half of the seventh but couldn’t get a run across, setting the stage for Griffin’s heroics.

“What a great softball game,” Piazza said. “I’ve said all year I think this region is better team for team than it has been in a long time. Anybody can beat you on any given night if you don’t show up. ”

Byrnes coach Brandi Aiken said the game was what she expected from the battle of region heavyweights.

“Kasey pitched really well tonight,” she said. “Calli’s pitched great both times we’ve played them, keeping us off balance. It was a great game and we just came up a little bit short. We left some runners on, had a couple of chances to score that we didn’t take advantage of, but I thought the kids played well. It’s good softball. The games are a lot more fun sometimes than the 10 and 15 run games.”

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