Class AA Softball
HANAHAN — Playing all facets of the game well, the Hanahan Hawks earned an extra two days' of rest while they wait to see who they will face in Friday's Class AA Lower State softball championship.
The Hawks overwhelmed the Cheraw Braves, 7-0, at home on Monday in the second round of the four-team double-elimination tournament. Cheraw will have to play the Andrew Jackson-Central winner on Wednesday in an elimination game. The winner of that game then will have to travel to Hanahan and would have to beat the Hawks twice in one day to win the Lower State title.
Hanahan definitely has earned the easier road to the state championship series, but coach Chris Pope doesn't call it easy.
"The score (today) was 7-0, but Cheraw is a quality team and at this stage in the playoffs all you face is quality teams," he said. "Our pitching was clicking. Our defense and bats were clicking. Whoever we play next will be tough. We're not too comfortable yet."
The Hawks took control of the contest from the outset. Cheraw's Deanna Ratliff attempted a drag hit and hit a looping line drive that would have landed just beyond second base if centerfielder Katie Seabrook hadn't charged in to make the catch. It was the type of timely defensive plays that kept the Hawks out of trouble all game and helped support pitcher Laura Moore, who gave up only five hits while striking out four.
"This is our third shutout in a row," Pope said. "Our defense definitely is playing well and is peaking at the right time of the year.
"(Moore's) been absolutely outstanding. She's staying ahead of the batters and puts pressure on them to hit the ball. In games like this, she gets in the zone."
While the Braves had trouble mounting a counterattack, the Hawks kept building on their lead. Brittany Peters struck out for what should have been the third out of the third inning, but the catcher missed the ball and Peters reached first ahead of the throw which allowed Eastwood to score on the play. In the fourth, Allie Adams led off with a hit and Kelley Dillon eventually drove her in with a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.
Hanahan added three runs in the sixth on three hits and two more errors.
Courtney Murdaugh and Kelley Dillon each scored two runs for Hanahan, and Lauren Eastwood was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
WP-Moore. LP-Hensley. Next-Hanahan at home Friday for the AA Lower State championship.