HARTSVILLE — The Hartsville Red Foxes took advantage of mistakes by the Hanahan Hawks on Monday to take a 2-1 win and a third Class AAA Lower State title in four years.
After Hanahan (23-6) scored its only run in the top of the first inning, Hartsville (28-1) scored in the third and fourth innings to beat the Hawks for the second time in eight days. In the opening round of the Lower State tournament, the Red Foxes earned a 3-2 walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth against Hanahan.
“I can’t say enough about the players,” Hartsville coach Bobby Sowell said. “They were determined to win. We started out behind in the first inning, but they never put a lot of pressure on themselves, fought, and came away with the victory.”
Hartsville’s Cayla Drotar picked up her 20th win of the season, striking out nine and giving up just two hits in the game.
“This team, you can’t take ‘em for granted,” she said. “I mean, they come out here 100 percent every time. So I knew I had to show them more pitches. My focus up there today was just to get my pitches spinning.”
Hanahan’s Lauren Anderson led off with a single to left in the top of the first. After two Drotar strikeouts, MacKenzie Dyson hit a line drive to center that Hartsville’s Saquita Joyner couldn’t handle, scoring Anderson.
In the bottom of the third, Tasia McPhail knocked a leadoff single into left field and advanced to second on a single by Drotar. Myra McDonald bunted for a hit to load the bases, and a Dyson pitch got by catcher Jordan Fabian soon after to allow the tying run.
An inning later, Dyson issued a leadoff walk to Jaclyn Ponder, who stole second on a wild pitch. Lace Wall’s sacrifice bunt advanced Ponder to third. Jessica McWhorter hit a flyout to right field, and Ponder ran halfway down the third base line to draw a throw from Hanahan’s Sarah Manore. The throw went up the line and got away from Fabian. Ponder scored the eventual winning run on the play.
Hartsville threw out Hanahan runners in inning-ending double plays twice following a flyout to right and a line drive to shortstop.
“We didn’t do the little things that we needed to do to win,” Hanahan coach Katrina Moffett said. “We gave up two unearned runs. We didn’t get our bunts down, and we had baserunning mistakes. And when you’re playing a good team in the state playoffs, they’re going to beat you because you can’t make those little plays or make those mistakes.”
Hartsville will travel to the winner of Union County and Lancaster on Thursday for the first game of the state championship series. The Red Foxes will host a second game Saturday. A third game, if necessary, will be hosted at a neutral site Monday.
Hanahan 100 000 0—1 2 0
Hartsville 001 100 x—2 4 3
WP: Drotar. LP: Dyson. Notes: HAR—Drotar 2-3, 2B; McDonald 1-3; McPhail 1-2. HAN—Anderson 1-3; Bailey Westbury 1-3.