Only this time, Midland Valley made sure the bases wouldn’t be left loaded.
After squandering a bases-loaded opportunity in the first inning, the Mustangs softball team loaded the bases in the second and went on to score seven runs en route to a 13-3 victory over Darlington on Monday, in a game shortened to five innings.
The Class AAA Lower State playoff win sends Midland Valley to Hartsville for a game Wednesday. A win there would put the Mustangs in what amounts to the Lower State championship final round.
“I told them up in the huddle, ‘We need to manufacture this run,’ ” Mustangs coach Michelle Yeater said. “It’s not about just one person. I think they really buckled down and got it done.”
Midland Valley rode the seven-run wave in the second to an impressive win. Carly Clark had the first RBI of the day, one of the Mustangs’ four RBI hits in the second innings. Morgan Smith, Emily Mason and Hayley Fleming all followed with two-run singles.
“I just had to get on,” Clark said of her second-inning hit. “I had to get my team up so we didn’t struggle late in the game.”
The District VIII champions scored the first nine runs of the game.
The Lady Falcons used two hits and some errors to score three times in the fourth.
However, Darlington’s defense committed two errors in the fifth, including one on a Clark hit. On Clark’s single to left, the ball got past the left fielder’s glove, allowing a run to score.
Eight hitters came to the plate in the fifth, with the only out coming on a base-running mistake. Besides that, it was full of singles and runs, as nine different Mustangs recorded a hit in the game.
“The top, all the way down to the bottom of the order is hitting,” Yeater said. “That’s one thing that’s going to contribute this year on this team.”