Bluffton overpowers Green Wave

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BLUFFTON -- The tension of the Class AAAA Lower State softball final dissipated long before the sixth inning, but that didn't stop Bluffton from coming up with a Hollywood ending.

The setup was picture perfect, with the team's slugger, Kim Kerby, at the dish and the clinching run on second. With two strikes, Kerby rocketed a two-run home run high over the left-center field fence, capping off a 13-2 win over Region 8-AAAA rival Summerville to advance to the state championship series.

Even with the big lead, Kerby's shot served as a walk-off, clinching moment that left even the batter herself somewhat stunned.

"Honestly it wasn't a solid hit," Kerby said afterward. "I thought she caught it at the fence."

This was the fourth meeting between Bluffton and Summerville in 2014, with the Green Wave snagging two of the three previous matchups. Those three contests were all much tighter affairs, far cries from Friday's rout.

The Green Wave managed only a two-run homer by Sarah Windham in the fourth inning, and coach Heather Tucker's team ended the season with a 25-7 record.

For weeks, coach Bluffton Bill Ball has said his team can see the finish line and taste the potential glory.

"Words can almost not express how I feel right now about this group," Ball said. "You're not looking at a middle-of-the-metropolitan-area group of wide-traveling, travel-ball players. Now they're beating the best teams in the state of South Carolina."

Beating them, and doing so in overwhelming fashion. After struggling on offense through much of the first phase of the playoffs, Bluffton has run-ruled each of its last two opponents. On Friday, they did so with 15 hits and three big innings, scoring three runs in the second, four in the fourth, and five in the sixth.

"This is our ball, right here," Kerby said. "This is how we hit. Most of the time we just come up here, swing the bats and we're a hitting team and we have the pitcher to back us up."