NORTH AUGUSTA --- North Augusta High breezed through the first round of the Class AAAA District 3 playoffs Thursday, invoking the mercy rule in the fifth inning of a 10-0 blowout of Westside-Anderson.
The Lady Jackets (25-2, 8-2) coasted behind great pitching from starter Lauren Rickabaugh (17-2) and timely hitting.
The senior hardly broke a sweat, allowing a walk and a single while striking out five Lady Rams in four innings.
Playing for the first time since a season-ending loss to Irmo last week, North Augusta coach Derrick Quinn said the team took care of its business on Thursday.
He said he was pleased with the way the Region 4-AAAA co-champions manufactured runs.
"We were very patient with plays and waited for pitches, and we bunted the ball really good tonight," Quinn said. "I think that was the key from the very beginning."
The Lady Jackets did most of their damage in the fourth when they tagged Westside starter Kayla Hipp (12-10) for seven runs.
With North Augusta already ahead 3-0, Sarah Hopkins led off with a single to center and was followed by back-to-back bunt singles by Kayla Williams and Gabby Riedel to load the bases.
A fielder's choice by Ashley Burke platted a run to make it 4-0.
Designated hitter Kaylee Spires followed with a two-run single to right. With the Lady Jackets up 6-0, second baseman Lindsay Jones knocked in two with a double to make it 8-0.
Jones then scored on a ground out to first to make it 9-0. Two batters later, reserve second baseman Taylor Perkins lined an RBI double to left to cap the night's scoring.
In the first inning, Spires reached on a bunt single and scored three batters later on a single by outfielder Hannah Burleson.
Jones scored on a double steal on the next pitch to make it 2-0.
The Lady Jackets scored another run in the third.
North Augusta will play host to the Hillcrest High Lady Rams at 7:30 tonight.
Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.