High School Sports

St. Martin sweeps past Hancock in second-round softball playoffs

 St. Martin pitcher Rebecca Anderson tossed a two-hitter against Hancock on Friday.
WILLIAM COLGIN/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALD St. Martin pitcher Rebecca Anderson tossed a two-hitter against Hancock on Friday.

ST. MARTIN -- Rebecca Anderson threw a two-hitter, striking out 10, as St. Martin beat Hancock 8-1 in the second round of the Class 6A state softball playoff series on Friday.

The Yellow Jackets (15-7) opened the series with a 5-1 win over Hancock (10-15) Tuesday, sweeping the best-of-3 series.

St. Martin will face Oak Grove (17-3) in a best-of-three series starting Monday.

"We are taking it one step at a time," Anderson said. "But the win helps us a lot. As a team, we have all the confidence in the world right now."

Anderson maintained her no-hitter until the sixth inning when Brooke Fagan slapped a one-out double to left.

The Hawks avoided the shutout in the top of the seventh. Brailey Smith led the inning off with an infield single to second. An out later, Gabby Lauga grounded to third. Smith moved to second on the throw across the diamond. When she rounded second, the St. Martin first baseman attempted to get her out at second, but threw the ball into left field. Smith scored on the error.

Anderson struck out every Hancock batter except for Fagan, who reached base all three plate appearances.

"We couldn't put the bat on the ball," said Hancock coach Bo Brelend. "We didn't hit well the entire series. (Anderson) kept us off balance the whole series."

Added St. Martin coach Donna Swilley: "When (Anderson) puts her mind to shutting down the other team, she can dominate the game. When she is hitting her spots, she is very difficult to beat."

Anderson got all the support she would needed in the first inning. Emily Stansbury singled in Katelyn Carcich, who reached on an error and moved to second after an intentional walk to Katelyn Gruich.Hancock intentionally walked Gruich her first three trips to the plate.

"I have great respect for her as a hitter," Brelend said. "She is one of the best hitters I've seen in 20 years as a coach."

The Yellow Jackets added two more runs in the fourth on Deona Morgan's double before breaking it open with five runs in the sixth inning. A single and three walks pushed the St. Martin lead to 4-0 and brought Gruich up with the bases loaded and two outs. With no place to put her, Hancock was forced to pitch to her. Gruich responded with a bases-clearing down the left-center ally.

"I wasn't frustrated," Gruich said. "I take every at bat as a normal at bat and just wanted to put the ball in play."

Stansbury was the only batter with multiple hits in the game, going 3-for-4 for St. Martin with a pair of RBIs.