Wednesday, 01 May 2019 18:27

No. 3 Lady Rockets upset No. 2 Hamlet to advance to SEMSAC title game

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Ashton Alexander watches her 3-RBI double in the third inning of Wednesday's semifinals game. Ashton Alexander watches her 3-RBI double in the third inning of Wednesday's semifinals game. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

HAMLET — With a spot in the Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference title game on the line, the Hamlet Middle School and Rockingham Middle School softball teams met in the playoff semifinals Wednesday.

It was the second meeting of the season between the No. 2 Lady Red Rams and No. 3 Lady Rockets. And like the first time, it was the Lady Rockets who emerged victorious, this time defeating Hamlet 5-2.

Earlier this spring, Rockingham and head coach Morgan Davis battled back to defeat Hamlet 6-3. In the postseason, Rockingham trailed early, but a three-run third inning proved to be the difference maker to send Rockingham to its third championship game in the last three seasons.

Two of the top pitchers in the conference squared off in Rockingham’s Savanna Mullins and Hamlet’s Quston Leviner. Mullins earned her second win in as many days, having beaten East Hoke Middle School in the opening round Tuesday.

Mullins’ complete game performance saw her strike out 12 Lady Red Ram batters, while also facing just three batters in each of the second through fifth innings. Hamlet collected three hits in the game.

Leviner was equally impressive from the circle, also tossing a complete game, while canning 14 Lady Rockets. She allowed just three hits, walked two batters and hit two more with a pitch.

Two errors by Hamlet in the top of the first led to Keyoni Nichols scoring leadoff batter Macy Steen (error) on a 6-3 ground out to make it 1-0.

Leviner got the home half of the inning started with a double, and later stole third base. In the next at-bat Katie Way slapped an RBI single to center, plating Leviner to tie the game. Way would give Hamlet a 2-1 lead after she scored on a throwing error at third.

Both teams went quietly in the second, and it was a three-run double from Rockingham’s Ashton Alexander in the top of the third that broke the game open. With two outs and a full count, Alexander slashed a double to the left field corner, scoring Savannah Jordan (single), Mullins (HBP) and Nichols (walk) to make it 4-2.

A couple of nice defensive plays by Rockingham kept Hamlet off the board in the middle innings. Steen hosed Leviner trying to steal second with one out in the bottom of the third. And her and Jordan teamed up for a 2-5-2 caught stealing on Addy Hollingsworth, who got caught up in a rundown between third and home in the bottom of the fourth.

Rockingham added an insurance run in the top of the fourth thanks to an RBI single from Steen to right field, which scored Ashley Murphy (HBP).

Mike Way’s Lady Red Rams made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh, starting with an RBI single from Lexi Medlin. The base knock to right field scored Christi Jacobs, who reached on an error.

With two outs, Hamlet got two runners on, but Mullins shut the door with her final strikeout.

No. 3 Rockingham will face reigning SEMSAC softball champion and No. 1 seed Carver Middle School (10-0) in the title game. A date and time for the championship game have yet to be announced at time of publication.

Rockingham won the 2017 SEMSAC softball title under former head coach Jeff Ingram, and lost the 2018 championship to Carver.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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