SYLVANIA — Screven County’s struggles on the softball diamond continued Wednesday evening as the Lady Gamecocks dropped a 7-4 decision to Cross Creek.
Screven (5-8) kept the game close early, but the Lady Razorbacks exploded for five runs in the fourth inning. The Gamecocks plated three runs in the fifth to keep things interesting, and loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Cross Creek starter Heather Peterson — who had exited after four innings — reentered the game.
Reshea Edwards lofted a sacrifice fly to pull within three runs, but Peterson put out the fire before Screven could complete the comeback.
“Overall, we didn’t play badly,” said Screven coach Billy Pollock. “We’ve got a very young team and they kept fighting hard when we got down. If we make a couple more plays early on, things could have gone our way.”
After being blown out by a 12-1 margin in the first meeting between the two teams in August, the Gamecocks looked much more competitive Wednesday. If not for a few missed opportunities, the game could have taken a different course early on.
Screven put runners on third base in each of the first two innings, but failed to score.
A couple of walks and a defensive miscue also hurt the Gamecocks. In the Razorbacks’ big fourth inning, Chassidy Bishop laid down a sacrifice bunt with runners on first and second. Dawn Stewart – who pitched the first three innings before moving to first base as Taryn Burns relieved her – fielded the ball and had a great chance to throw out Ronnie Ellis at third, but some indecision led to all runners advancing and a bases loaded, no out jam.
After Burns walked in a run, Megan Rouse (1-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored) laced a single to left that scored Ellis easily. Kayla Waycaster looked as though she would be out by plenty at the plate, but Vicky Winters couldn’t quite get into position and Waycaster slipped by for another run.
“There were some plays that we just missed by half a second,” said Pollock. “We’re thinking before we make plays. As we get more experienced, those plays need to just come naturally.”
Danielle Rheaume capped the big inning two batters later with a two-run triple to right.
Keyane Wilson relieved Peterson in the fifth and Screven started to chip away.
Singles by Burns, Rebekah Woods (3-for-4) and Jancy Durrence loaded the bases and Hannah Jones connected for a two-run single to center. Edwards brought home Durrence with an RBI groundout to pull Screven within 7-3.
After the rough fourth inning, Burns pitched effectively to keep the Razorbacks from pulling away. Stewart was also solid, allowing just two runs in her three innings of work.
“We got good efforts from both of our pitchers,” said Pollock. “When we can put the pitching and good defense together, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win ballgames.”
Lily Howard started the seventh inning rally for Screven by reaching on an error. Woods and Durrence hit back-to-back singles to chase Wilson. Peterson struck out Jones before Edwards narrowed the lead with a sacrifice fly to center. Stewart grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
The Gamecocks will have to bounce right back as they host Harlem in a Region 3-AA game today at 5 p.m. Both schools are 2-0 in region play and the winner will stand alone atop the region standings.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.