Stratford falls to Bluffton, 5-2

Bluffton pitcher Courtney Smith struck out nine batters and drove in two runs in a 5-2 win over Stratford on Saturday. (Photo by Rob Gantt)

GOOSE CREEK - Stratford High School's margin for error in the softball playoffs has disappeared.

The Knights came up short on Saturday, falling 5-2 to Bluffton in the Class AAAA Lower State tournament. Stratford (20-9) hosts Summerville in an elimination game on Monday. The Green Wave lost to Wando, 3-2.

"It's like I told them, you win and you're still in," Stratford coach Debra Tolar said. "You lose, you're through. We hope to be playing Wednesday."

Bluffton's Courtney Smith dominated for the Lady Bobcats (25-3). She was 4 for 4 with a pair of RBI doubles and also tossed a complete game, allowing four hits and striking out nine batters. Morganne Parker and Jordyn Parker added two hits each for Bluffton, which hosts Wando on Monday.

Fallon Tingler threw the first three innings for Stratford, giving up five hits and three runs. Nikki Linthicum hurled the final four, allowing six hits and two runs.

Emily Harmon led Stratford with two hits and Megan Lindberg had an RBI single.

Bluffton scored single runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings after Stratford scored its lone two runs to tie it 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning.

"It was a great wake-up call," Tolar said. "We had won eight games in a row. Maybe we got a little lackadaisical."