When Myrtle entered their second round playoff series, they were paired with a season-long favorite in Wheeler, but the Lady Hawks were confident, knowing this was the same Lady Eagle team they defeated in a similar situation last season.
“We went into the series knowing we had nothing to lose,” Myrtle head coach Robert Gordon said. “Last year, they entered with a great record, only two losses, and we pulled the upset, and while we’ve been shaky this year, I thought we would bust through. Our approach was that they’re the ones with the pressure, having another great record and so many seniors, so just relax, play and have fun and whatever happens, happens.”
In Saturday’s game one, Myrtle jumped to a 4-0 lead, starting with three runs in the second inning. The Lady Eagles had four hits, starting with Laken Butler’s single and followed by one by Keely Chunn. A double later in the frame scored Butler, and Chunn was plated by a sacrifice fly out by Allie Bishop. Jenna Jordan capped the scoring with her RBI single.
With runners in scoring position in the third, an error scored Aspriona Gilbert, and the Lady Hawks maintained the lead until Wheeler scored twice in the sixth inning.
Down 4-2, Wheeler took advantage of Lady Hawk miscues in the seventh, as two errors brought in four runs, and the Lady Eagles held on for the game one win.
“We did what we wanted to by getting ahead, and the pressure was on them,” Gordon said. “We were winning for six and two third innings, but three mistakes in a row cost us the game. I was at a loss of words, but I commend Wheeler for their comeback and drive.”
Wheeler did not look back, carrying momentum into game two and taking the win, 11-4.
“I could see the momentum shift after that first game, but we came out, hit first and scored three runs early on, so I was pleased,” Gordon said. “I thought that this team wasn’t going to die or give up, but then Wheeler scored five in their first inning. We stayed with them, but slowly they pulled away and started winning every inning.”
Myrtle ends the year at 17-12, but will return every member of this year’s squad next season, an advantage the Lady Hawks look to make the most of.
“I’m very pleased with this year, and we had to fill some big shoes,” Gordon said. “For us to win 17 games was great and we had a good run. We played hard and we were excited and relaxed coming into this series, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully we can build on this and make a run next season.”