The Cheraw/Chesterfield Ponytails all-star team, ages 11-12, traveled to Sumter last week for the District 3 softball tournament and the squad completed the weeklong event with a 4-2 mark and a runner-up finish.
The Ponytails lost their opener to Hartsville and then won four consecutive elimination games to get another shot at the Red Foxes in the championship game.
The opening night contest against Hartsville was nip and tuck through the first four innings, as the Cheraw/Chesterfield squad took a 6-4 lead into the fifth frame. Hartsville then put a five-spot on the board in the fifth inning to retake the lead and added 11 runs in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach.
The Cheraw/Chesterfield squad ralled for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough, as Hartsville captured a 20-12 victory.
Cheraw/Chesterfield had 14 hits in the loss as Haven Owens, Hannah Sellers, Kamryn Leidig, Katie Rivers, Callie Bryant and Hailey King tallied two hits each.
The loss dropped the all-star squad into the losers’ bracket and the All-Stars came out firing on all cylinders against Dillon on Tuesday night. After each team scored three runs in the first frame, the Cheraw/Chesterfield bats came alive for 10 runs in the second inning and eight more tallies in the third frame to put the game away.
The local squad took full advantage of 20 walks and cruised to a 26-4 win in four innings. Kamryn Leidig pitched the first two innings to pick up the win, as well as hitting a two-run homer in first inning. Nine girls each had one base hit in the lopsided win.
Clarendon County was up next and the Cheraw/Chesterfield squad continued its first-inning magic with six runs to take a quick 6-0 advantage. The Ponytails added seven more tallies in the top of the second inning to increase their lead to 13-0 and they went on to post a 19-8 victory in four innings.
The locals really had their hitting shoes on in this one, as they pounded out 15 hits in only four innings of work. Antavia Brown led the way with three bunt singles, while Kamryn Leidig, Callie Bryant and Margaret Jean Harris each added two safeties. Leidig once again picked up the win for the Cheraw/Chesterfield squad, as she only allowed one run in her two innings of work.
The host Sumter County all-stars were the next opponent for the local squad and once again, a big first inning got Cheraw/Chesterfield off to a great start. Four consecutive walks played a big role in the five-run frame, but Katie Rivers had a bases-clearing double to drive in three runs. The Cheraw/Chesterfield squad then upped its lead to 10-3 with two runs in the second inning and three more in the third frame before their bats went silent.
Strong defense took over after that, as Sumter added one run in the fourth and two more in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough, as the Cheraw/Chesterfield team advanced with a 10-6 win.
The first three innings were the key, as the locals only had five base hits in the contest, but they took advantage of 12 walks and 12 stolen bases. Haven Owens, Antavia Brown, Katie Rivers, Callie Bryant and Beyonce Murray each had one base hit, as Leidig picked up her third consecutive win by only giving up three runs in her two innings of work.
The next oppoenent was Darlington and the story continued to be getting off to a good start as the locals scored six runs in the first and four more in the second to jump out to a quick 10-2 lead. This one was a carbon copy of the Sumter County game, as the Darlington pitchers walked four consecutive batters and Katie Rivers cleaned off the bases with a three-run double.
Rivers continued her solid work at the plate by driving in two more runs with a two-out single in the second frame. Cheraw/Chesterfield added three more tallies in the top of the fourth inning and held the Falcons scoreless in the botttom half of the inning to close out the 13-3 win.
Rivers led the local squad at the plate with her 2-for-2 night and five RBIs while Antavia Brown, Hannah Sellers, Hailey King, Beyonce Murray and Margaret Jean Harris each added one safety. Kamryn Leidig once again pitched the first two innings to get her fourth victory of the week, as she only gave up two runs on two hits.
The win over Darlington earned the girls another shot at Hartsville in the championship game on Saturday night and this contest turned out to be exactly like their first meeting. Both teams battled for runs in the first two innings, as Hartsville held a slim 3-2 advanatge after the first two frames.
Cheraw/Chesterfield then scored twice in the third inning to take a 4-3 lead and added two more tallies in the fourth inning to increase the Ponytails’ lead to 6-3. The wheels then came off in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Hartsville scored seven runs in six hits, including a bases-clearing triple by Cahill Funderburk. The Red Foxes took a 10-6 lead after four frames and then they closed things out with a six-run fifth frame to account for the 16-6 final margin.
Haven Owens and Katie Rivers led the hit parade for the Cheraw/Chesterfield squad with two base hits each, while Antavia Brown, Callie Bryant, Hailey King and Margaret Jean Harris each added one safety to the cause in the loss.
The runner-up finish was not exactly what this group of girls wanted, coaches said, but after losing the opening game, they rallied together and eliminated four teams in four nights to finish second in the nine-team tournament.