SUMMERVILLE — Summerville struggled offensively for the second straight game, but unlike Saturday’s one-run victory, the Green Wave fell to visiting Carolina Forest, 5-0, Monday evening in the Class AAAA Lower State softball tournament.
Monday’s result, combined with Wando’s 4-1 win over White Knoll, means that Summerville (28-4) will travel to Mount Pleasant on Wednesday in a rematch of Saturday’s 1-0 nailbiter. The winner of that elimination game will be tasked with beating the Panthers (22-2) twice in Friday’s Lower State championship.
With two hits tonight and three total in the past two games, the Green Wave’s lack of recent production at the plate is evident.
“We just didn’t hit,” Summerville coach Heather Tucker said. “I’m not sure why. (Carolina Forest starter Rachel Lembcke) was a good pitcher … but we should be able to produce a little bit better offensively than what we have been.”
Green Wave pitcher Taylor Wuerfel worked her way out of a jam in the top of the first, recording consecutive strikeouts with a pair of runners in scoring position.
But when faced with a bases-loaded situation in the third inning, Wuerfel fell victim to a pair of untimely Summerville errors that led to a three-run third inning for the Panthers. Carolina Forest scored two more runs on Marisa Runyon’s single up the middle in the following stanza.
Runyon, a junior, verbally committed to SEC power Alabama.
“Defensively, if you don’t make plays, you’re not going to win big games against good teams,” Tucker said.
“When we gave up the three runs early on, they were all unearned. So when you do that defensively, it gives (the Panthers) a lot of momentum and kills anything we have going.”
Lembcke was perfect through 32/3 innings, striking out five of the first nine batters she faced en route to earning the win on the mound. The Green Wave also faced Lambcke last season in an elimination game, which Summerville won 6-5.
A two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth resulted in the Green Wave’s best scoring opportunity of the evening. But with runners on second and third, a fly ball to center field ended the frame.
“(The players have) come back in tough situations all season, so I believe in them,” Tucker concluded. “I know they can. We just kind of decided to take the tough road. And if that’s the road we’re going to take, then let’s take it.”
Carolina Forest 003 200 0—5 10 1
Summerville 000 000 0—0 2 4 WP—Lembcke. LP—Wuerfel. Record: Summerville 28-4. Carolina Forest 22-2. Next: Summerville at Wando on Wednesday in a Lower State elimination game.