Softball: Hemingway lifts Tigers past CF; MB rallies

For the second straight night, Neci Hemingway hurled the Tigers to a region win.

Conway’s ace followed a 146-pitch performance in Thursday’s victory over Sumter with another complete game Friday, striking out nine and topping host Carolina Forest 4-1.

Hemingway also gave the Tigers a boost at the plate, breaking open a scoreless game in the fourth inning with her first home run of the season.

“Neci always gives us a chance,” Conway coach Mike Skipper said. “At the plate and in the field.”

Hemingway’s two-run shot to left kick-started the Conway offense, which added two more runs in the frame.

Carolina Forest threatened throughout the game, but the Panthers plated their lone run when the throw home from Karley Bryant’s infield grounder was late.

“I’ll be honest with you. Up until tonight, I’ve been really concerned about our intensity,” Skipper said. “We lost four good players from last year’s team and we’ve got some newcomers. It’s taken us a little while to get on the right track.”

The win improved Conway’s record to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in region play. Although they won the region last year, the Tigers are now sitting in second place in the division behind South Florence (5-0 region).

“South Florence is a little better than I kind of expected, even though they’re always great,” Skipper said. “They’ve arrived a little earlier than I was hoping. They’re hard to handle and they’re in the driver’s seat right now. And the rest of us are kind of looking up at them.”

The loss dropped Carolina Forest’s record to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the region.

“Right now, we’re trying to figure out what our identity is really,” said Panthers coach Chad Schildt, who is in his second year leading the team. “We have really, really good games. Swing the bats and have 14, 15 hits. Score a bunch of runs. And then we have some games where we sometimes just don’t show up. … We’re just trying to find that consistency really.”

* Myrtle Beach 6, Marlboro County 2: The Lady Seahawks rallied to beat the Lady Bulldogs and remain undefeated in Region 7-4A play.

With the Seahawks trailing 2-0 and the bases loaded, Cayce Roberts ripped a triple to score all three runs, and then scored herself for a 4-2 lead. They added two insurance runs in the seventh to preserve the lead.

Carly Grace Bodge picked up another win with a three-hitter. They return to action on Tuesday at home against rival North Myrtle Beach.

* St. James 9, Wilson 7: The Sharks scored two runs in the sixth and seventh innings to rally past Wilson, and Hailey Martinez earned her second win in as many days to lead host St. James.

Skye Bailey’s two-run homer proved to be the difference in a game that was tied at 5-all after five innings. The Lady Tigers scored a pair of runs in the seventh but couldn’t squeeze any more runs across the plate.

Photo by Chuck Silvey

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