Hanahan High’s softball team won the AAA District VIII championship the hard way on Friday night.
Sitting in the driver’s seat hosting North Myrtle Beach, Hanahan needed to lose twice in order to lose the championship.
After losing game one, 1-0, Hanahan bounced back with a 4-2 win in game two, winning the championship to improve to 21-5 on the season. North Myrtle Beach ended its season at 20-8.
Hanahan advances to the final four bracket of the AAA Lower State playoffs and will play at Hartsville on Monday night. Berkeley, which defeated Georgetown to win the District VII championship on Friday, will visit Gilbert in the other final four bracket game.
Hanahan coach Katrina Moffett would have preferred to win game one but was confident her team would be ready to play in game two.
“It’s a great group of girls and they usually stay pretty loose,” said Moffett, who has only two seniors this season. “This team always believe they can win. Between games they went to the locker room here and they’re in there dancing and having fun. We’re at our best when we play loose and play with energy. I knew we had a great chance to win.”
The two teams met on Monday night in a winner’s bracket game and Hanahan won that game, 1-0, in eight innings. After failing to score in the first game on Friday night, Moffett felt her team needed to score early in game two to settle any nerves.
Hanahan responded with three big runs in the top of the second inning. After MacKenzie Dyson doubled to open the inning, Jordan Fabian reached on a sacrifice bunt. Kendall Grubb followed with a double to the fence in right center. Grubb took third on the throw home and scored when the catcher’s throw to third sailed down the line, giving Hanahan the 3-0 lead.
“No doubt that was huge for us to score some runs,” said Moffett. “I think it settled everyone down. With MacKenzie pitching and with our defense, we know getting a few runs can win it.”
Dyson settled into a groove after allowing a run in the bottom of the second. Hanahan added a fourth run on Sara Manore’s RBI single. North Myrtle Beach scored a run in the bottom of the seventh for the final margin.
Monday night’s game at Hartsville will be Hanahan’s biggest test of the season. The Red Foxes are the top-ranked team in AAA and have lost just once this season. They are the defending Lower State champions and have the state’s best prospect — pitcher Cayla Drotar.
“We know it’s a challenge but this team will be ready,” said Moffett. “We’re such a young team, they don’t feel any pressure. They just go out and play.”