Easley softball opens with three victories

By Robert Bradley Special to The Easley Progress

March 18, 2014

EASLEY — For the first time in five seasons, the Easley High School softball team has opened the regular season with three consecutive victories. The 2009 team won its first six games after going 0-3 in a pre-season tournament.

The 2014 team was 1-2 in the Liberty Pre-Season Tournament, but has since rattled off wins over Wren (3-2), Woodmont (6-1) and J.L. Mann (21-9). Two of the wins were against Region 1-AAAA opponents, marking the first time since 2008 that Easley won its first two region games.

The Lady Green Wave has three region games on tap this week: Tuesday at home vs. Laurens, Wednesday at Greenwood, and Thursday at home vs. Greenwood. All games begin at 7:30 p.m.

Easley 3, Wren 2

All the runs were scored in the first inning and the game was then turned into a pitching duel between Easley’s Brittany Kimbrough and Wren’s Ashley Collins.

The Lady Hurricanes got a lead-off single from Courtney Gilstrap, who went to second on an error.

A one-out single by Reagan Davis was followed by a run-scoring single by Kelsey Collins. Emma Collins then singled, and another error scored Davis for a 2-0 lead.

Easley countered with a trio of runs in the bottom of the inning — all with two outs. Kelsey Garrett started the rally with a single, and went to third on a single by Robin Bradley, who took second on the play. Garrett scored on a wild pitch and Bradley went to third while Mattison Trammell was working her way on base with a walk. Bradley and Trammell each scored on wild pitches.

From there, the pitchers took over, although they did have to work out of a few jams. Wren had runners on second and third with one out in the third inning, but Kimbrough got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat. Wren loaded the bases in the fifth with one out. A strikeout and groundout to third ended that inning. And in the seventh, Wren got a lead-off single by Davis and moved her to third with consecutive groundouts. A fly ball ended the game.

Easley also had runners on second and third in the third, but a groundout ended that inning. Isabel Durham had a one-out double in the sixth, but a popup and strikeout ended the inning.

Easley 6, Woodmont 1

Easley had 10 hits while pitcher Brittany Kimbrough limited Woodmont to three as the Lady Green Wave won the Region 1-AAAA opener.

The Lady Green Wave got on the scoreboard first with a pair of runs in the third inning. Jade Hendricks was hit by a pitch and sacrificed to second by Taylor Rothrock. Hendricks went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Boo Vaughn, the first of three hits in the game for her. Vaughn went to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Kelsey Garrett.

After Woodmont cut the deficit in half with an unearned run in the fourth, Easley sealed the victory with four runs in the top of the seventh. Hendricks opened the inning with a single and took second when Rothrock reached on a fielder’s choice. A single by Vaughn loaded the bases. With one out, Kelsey Garrett hit a two-run double. A sacrifice by Robin Bradley plated Vaughn and Garrett scored on a single by Mattison Trammell.

Easley 21, J.L. Mann 9

Easley scored the most runs in a game since scoring 29 against Greenville in 2009 in beating J.L. Mann. The Lady Green Wave lost to Mann twice last season by a combined score of 14-0. In those games, Easley was out-hit 23-3. Easley’s hitters also struck out 25 times in those games.

Friday was a complete reversal as Easley outhit the Patriots 17-6 and struck out only four times. Seventh-grader Jade Hendricks was the winning pitcher in her first appearance with five strikeouts. She scattered six hits and allowed just one earned run.

Easley’s offense, meanwhile, scored 15 earned runs with five extra-base hits, including a triple and double by Mattison Trammell. Boo Vaughn, Brittany Kimbrough and Kelsey Garrett each had a double.

Every batter in the lineup had at least one hit. Garrett and Sydney Patterson had three hits each. Kimbrough had five runs batted in with Boo Vaughn and Garrett driving in four runs each. Trammell had three RBI. Vaughn, Patterson and Isabel Durham scored four runs each with Kimbrough and Taylor Rothrock scoring three each.

The Lady Green Wave scored a run in the first inning and took control with five in the second and third innings for an 11-0 lead. Easley continued its assault with four in the fourth and put up six runs on the board in the fifth.