By Thomas Grant Jr.
Mid-Carolina’s first state championship appearance in softball ended at Carolina Softball Field on May 26.
The Lady Rebels fell 8-3 to Chesterfield in the deciding game of the Best-of-Three Class 2A final.
“All year, these kids have showed resiliency, determination,” Mid-Carolina head coach Joey Long said. “Sometimes, things didn’t go our way. But we still fought, we still scratched. We saw them here tonight, they didn’t quit, They kept fighting, kept battling, all the way to the end. I’m simply proud of them.”
Mid-Carolina fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning. The Lady Rams connected on three consecutive hits off starting pitcher Amber Hughes, including a 2-run homer by Kaylee Eubanks.
Mid-Carolina loaded the bases in the top of the second inning. After Gabi Riddle was thrown out at home plate by centerfielder Kierra Diggs trying to advance on a single from second base, the Lady Rebels only managed a run off an RBI single.
In the third inning, the Lady Rams answered an RBI double by Hughes with one of their own by Marah Brock to go up 4-2. They then broke the game open with four innings in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Despite going over 100 pitches in five innings, Hughes managed to strike out four consecutive batters. She also led off the sixth inning with a double and her pinch runner scored off an infield single by Bailey Stewart.
Hughes finished with nine strikeouts, allowed 11 hits, and finished 3-4 at the plate. Her final at-bat also ended the game as she lined out to Stewart at third base.
“She’s unbelievable,” Mid-Carolina head coach Joey Long said. “A great kid, works hard. Shows up every day with a great attitude and just when she gets out there, she’s determined. She wants to make it happen and she’ll be sorely missed next year.”