Bluffton plated two runs early and made them stand up Wednesday at home as the Bobcats eliminated White Knoll, 2-0, in the Class 4-A Lower State softball playoffs.
For the Lower State final, Bluffton finds itself in a rematch with Region 8-AAAA co-champion Summerville, who handed the Bobcats a 2-1, nine-inning loss on Monday. Bluffton will play at 5 p.m. Friday at Summerville. The Bobcats would have to beat the Green Wave twice to advance.
"We're going up there to play the first game," Bluffton coach Bill Ball said. "You never look past that first game, but if you win that first game, you have all the momentum."
Monday's loss was marked by Summerville's ability to play small ball, as well as Bluffton's inability to get a hit in key situations.
"If we had just hit the ball in a couple of critical situations, it would have negated their short game," Ball said. "Give me those situations with my kids again, and they'll take care of those situations."
Bluffton got on the board in the first when Morganne Parker doubled over third, Mikyla Houglan sacrificed her to third and Kim Kerby grounded out to first to score Parker.
The Bobcats added an insurance run in the second. Amanda Dart singled and moved to second on a fielder's choice. Carly Thomas bunted, and the White Knoll first baseman threw behind Dart at third. The throw was bad, and Dart scored when it went into left field.
Courtney Smith went the distance, striking out four and allowing just three hits.
Thomas Heyward 12, Williamsburg 2, 5 innings: Ryan Day struck out five, allowing just four hits and two runs, to earn the win on the mound and lead the Rebels to the SCISAA Class 2-A state championship series.
According to coach Nic Shuford, this is the furthest Thomas Heyward (17-5) has advanced in the playoffs since winning a state championship in 1979.
At the plate, Day was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Seth Jones was 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs.
The Rebels will travel to Holly Hill Academy on Monday to open the best-of-3 championship series.
"We haven't seen them at all this year," Shuford said of Holly Hill. "I'll get on the phone in the morning and see what I can find out."
Bishop England 11, Battery Creek 1: The season came to an end for the Dolphins (8-9).
Morgan Doray scored Battery Creek's lone goal on an assist from Cali Caulder. Tabitha Spurlock had eight saves in goal, while Tori Hill added four.
Hilton Head Island 4, Myrtle Beach 0: The Seahawks (20-3) advance to host Brookland-Cayce on Friday.
KIng's Academy 7, Beaufort Academy 1: Hunter Haynes scored four goals to eliminate the Eagles (15-3).
Ridgeland-Hardeeville 4, Bamberg Ehrhardt 1 (Tuesday): Alan Cruz scored twice and Hector Guererro and Adrian Morales each added goals for the Jaguars (12-2), who travel to Bishop England on Thursday.
Hilton Head Island: Socastee beat Myrtle Beach 5-2 on Wednesday and will play at 4 p.m. Thursday at Hilton Head Island High.