The Thomas Heyward Academy softball team won't see Thomas Sumter in the playoffs next season, but the teams will still meet.
Thomas Heyward coach Bob Layman wants to continue scheduling tough teams during the regular season, and that includes Thomas Sumter, which will move up to SCISAA Class 3-A next season.
But the Rebels might be glad to dodge the Generals during the postseason, with Thomas Sumter expected to return its entire group.
The young Thomas Sumter team completed a sweep of Thomas Heyward on Tuesday in the Class 2-A softball championship series, winning 7-3 after a big sixth inning.
Generals pitcher Emily Demonte struck out 12, working the inside corner for her 29th win of the season.
"We came outside last night, and I think they were expecting us to come more outside again because they were really turning on it inside," Demonte said. "And we decided to switch it up to see what would happen."
Thomas Sumter won 7-2 on Monday to force the Rebels into a must-win situation at home.
The softball championship was the first for the Sumter County school, and players posed for pictures on the Rebels' home infield after receiving their trophy and championship medals.
To prepare for Demonte, a Furman recruit, former Thomas Heyward pitcher Ashlie Layman threw to the Rebels in practice, including plenty of curveballs.
"We tried to build some confidence and let them see some speed," Bob Layman said. "We haven't played a lot of pitchers of her caliber."
Thomas Sumter coach Lou Demonte, Emily's father, said they wanted to work inside on Tuesday but that there were times Emily changed the call and had it work out.
Demonte pitched her strongest during the middle innings, striking out the side in the second and fourth innings and retiring the top three in the order to deny a run after Zoe Mitchell started the inning with a hit and moved to third on an error.
"She locates her pitches really well," said Rebels leadoff batter Sydney Glassberg. "And she really does have a really good curveball."
Thomas Heyward scored twice in the first on Hannah Cannon's RBI base hit and a throwing error but couldn't manage multiple base runners again until the sixth. The Rebels pushed one across but Demonte stranded two with a strikeout to end the inning.
The Generals batted around during the five-run sixth, with some of the silly runs Layman said characterized the Rebels' loss in Game 1.
Thomas Heyward finished 18-9 and loses two seniors. Layman expects the competition to again be strong in 2-A, even without Thomas Sumter.
"I've got some great kids coming up," he said. "Expectations are high. We want to be right back there doing it again next year."
Thomas Sumter 7, Thomas Heyward 3
Thomas Sumter 101 005 0 -- 7 6 3
Thomas Heyward 200 001 0 -- 3 6 3
WP: Emily Demonte 7 IP , 3 R, 2 ER, 12 K, 6 H, BB, HBP
LP: Selice Daley 7 IP, 7 R, 5 ER, 6 H, BB
Top hitters: Thomas Sumter -- Logan Morris 1 for 2, 2 B, 3 RBIs, 2 R; Demonte 2 for 3, 2 RBIs, R. Thomas Heyward -- Liz Bunton 1 for 3, BB, 2 R; Hannah Cannon 1 for 3, RBI; Daley 1 for 3, RBI.