Softball Roundup: Gunnell, Lembcke lift St. James, CF

Another playoff game, another shutout for the Lady Sharks.

St. James shut out its second straight playoff opponent since opening the postseason, knocking off Berkeley 8-0 to move one more win away from the Lower State tournament.

The Lady Sharks (17-6) got another stellar performance from pitcher Alexis Gunnell, who also shut down first-round foe Hilton Head Island 3-0 on Thursday.

That puts St. James in the drivers seat of the district playoffs, needing only one win against the Berkeley-Hilton Head winner starting Wednesday. Hilton Head eliminated Socastee 6-4 in eight innings on Friday night.

After limiting Hilton Head to only three hits in the postseason opener, Gunnell hurled a two-hitter against the Lady Stags to take charge of the district.

St. James battery-mate Erin Brown single-handedly outhit the Lady Stags, going 3-for-4 while driving in four runs. Kelsi Bachman and Katie Cook also also had two hits apiece.

The Lady Sharks struck for runs in the first and third for the early lead, then broke things open with a pair of runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth.

* Carolina Forest 2, Ashley Ridge 1: The Lady Panthers needed 10 innings to get past Ashley Ridge and advance to the finals of the district championship on Saturday.

Carolina Forest’s Rachel Lembcke turned in another dominating performance on the mound and Sara Sweatt scored the game-winner as the Lady Panthers now need to win one of their next two games to claim the district title.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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