HARTSVILLE — The last undefeated teams in the Dixie Softball Ponytails World Series squared off Monday night as Rockingham, the North Carolina state champion, hit the field against South Carolina.
The winner would stand two wins away from a World Series crown. The other would have to fight its way back through the losers’ bracket to keep its championship hopes alive.
Rockingham remained undefeated after tossing back-to-back four-inning no-hitters to open the World Series. Rockingham rolled past Hartsville, the host team, in the opener. It then cruised to victory over Florida Sunday night.
Rockingham surrendered its first hit of the tournament in the top of the fourth inning as South Carolina’s Kennedy Peele singled to left. It was the only baserunner South Carolina would get as Rockingham pulled away late for a 10-0 victory in five innings.
Ragan Liles pitched all five innings and struck out seven for Rockingham. Jadyn Johnson and Paige Ransom both had triples in the win. Ransom added two runs batted in. Mattie Liles had a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth.
“Hits…timely hits,” Rockingham coach Matthew Liles said. “Paige had two big hits. Mattie Liles had a good hit and scored two big runs. Ragan pitched well. I’m very proud of these young ladies.”
Rockingham rocks Hartsville in opener
HARTSVILLE — It was the best-case scenario for the Rockingham Ponytails all-star team in its opening game of the Dixie Softball World Series.
The pitching duo of Paige Ransom and Payton Chappell each hurled two hitless innings to help Rockingham to a 10-0 victory over Hartsville on Saturday night.
Ransom started the game and allowed two walks in the first inning before settling down to retire the next four batters she faced. Chappell recorded a perfect third inning before walking the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth. Chappell coaxed Kaki Newsome to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Rockingham, the North Carolina state champion, scored four times in the first, two in the third and closed out the contest with four more in the fourth.
“You have to conserve pitching in Dixie,” Rockingham coach Matthew Liles said. “It was the best case scenario for us.”
Jadyn Johnson scored three runs in the win, including the first and the final runs. Johnson led off the bottom of the first with a fly ball to right field that sailed over the head of Kyshawn Robinson. Johnson raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
Rockingham took advantage of several miscues by Hartsville. Liles said it was a credit to his hitters that they put the ball in play and forced Hartsville to make plays on defense.
Reach Richmond County Daily Journal managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.