Big hits elude Bluffton in Class 4-A playoff softball loss to Summerville

mmccombs@islandpacket.comMay 7, 2013 

In a game that saw the Green Wave put the ball in play by way of the bunt no less that 10 times, it was a flyball to center field that pushed Summerville to a 2-1, nine-inning win over Bluffton in the Class 4-A Lower State playoffs on Monday at Bluffton High School.

"It was a crazy game," Summerville coach Heather Tucker said. "Bluffton's a good team. We knew it was going to be a grind."

In accordance with the international tiebreaker rules, Summerville opened the ninth inning with the go-ahead runner on second. After a sacrifice by Taylor Knight -- one of five on the night by the Green Wave -- Hannah Horton hit a flyball to center field to score the go-ahead run.

Bluffton (20-6) moved the tying run to third in the bottom half of the inning but couldn't score.

It wasn't the first time in the game the Bobcats had a chance to score but couldn't come through with the big hit.

In the fifth, two singles and an errant throw by the Summerville left fielder gave Bluffton runners at second and third with one out and the heart of the order coming up. But Green Wave shortstop Sarah Windham made a spectacular diving catch of Kim Kerby's line drive, and Whitney Morrell hit a flyball to right to end the scoring threat.

Two innings later, with runners at second and third with two outs, Kerby flew out to right.

"These kids deliver so often, when that happens, it's hard to be disappointed when they don't come through," Bluffton coach Bill Ball said. "Some of these kids are hitting .500 in those situations."

Ball said there wasn't anything specific he could do to help his team come up with the clutch hits.

"When you get this far, they know the score," Ball said. "They're just a little frustrated."

Summerville took a 1-0 lead in the third when Anna Gluhusky reached on an error, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on another error.

Bluffton evened the score in the fourth when Whitney Morrell walked, moved to second on a sacrifice, third on a grounder to short and scored on an error.

Now Summerville gets to sit back and wait for an opponent.

"It's definitely great to play at home Friday for a chance to win the Lower State," Tucker said.

Meanwhile, Ball said he's been in the playoffs enough to now that if his Bobcats survive Wednesday's matchup with Monday's Wando-White Knoll winner, they have a shot.

"What I've learned is that if you can go in there and win the first one, more often than not, you can win the whole thing," Ball said.

That makes one Bobcat happy.

"I'm definitely ready to play three more games," Bluffton pitcher Courtney Smith said.

Summerville 001 000 001 -- 2 6 2

Bluffton 000 100 000 -- 1 8 2

W: Taylor Wuerfel. L: Courtney Smith. Top hitters: Summerville -- Taylor Knight 1 for 1, 2 sacrifices. Bluffton -- Mikyla Houghlan 3 for 4.

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