Hanahan softball team earns second state championship title!
What a game. What a season. What memories.
The Hanahan High School softball team won one of the most unforgettable games in recent state history, gaining an 8-7 victory over Crescent Friday night.
What made this victory so special is that it was in 12 innings and came in Game 3 of the State Championship Series. The triumph gave the Hawks their second state title in school history, a 30-4 record for the 2017 season and memories that will last a lifetime.
“The excitement is still there and it will remain there,” Hanahan coach Katrina Moffett said. “It was so surreal, especially the way it happened.”
The deciding game was not for the faint of heart, as Crescent seemed to have the game in hand. But there wasn’t any quit in the Hawks’ steely determination.
Crescent, coached by the state’s all-time winningest coach, Dean Adams, entered the series with a national record 19 state championships. It seemed like the Tigers were en route to No. 20 as they scored two runs in the top of the 11th in a game played at the Carolina Softball Stadium’s Beckham Field in Columbia.
But the Hawks rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning to force the 12th. Crescent scored in the top of the inning to make it 7-6, but that’s when the Hawks’ drama machine kicked into high gear.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Hawks began with a runner at second as part of the international tie-breaker. Ashley Meckley’s sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third. Rachel Shelley reached on an infield single that scored a run to make it 7-7.
Jordan Fabian doubled off the wall in center to put runners on second and third. Kendall Grubb provided the heroics with a walk-off single to give the Hawks the Class AAA state title.
“I was really nervous when they scored the two runs in the top of the 11th,” Moffett said. “But we’ve been a good-hitting team all year. I placed all my confidence on the team. I knew, and they knew, they could get the job done.”
Drayton Siegling was the Hawks’ starting pitcher and lasted two innings. She was relieved by Kayla Dyson, a veteran who got the job done in her final high school appearance. She pitched 10 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, while striking out four. She benefitted from a defense that Moffett described as amazing.
“What a great moment for Kayla,” Moffett said. “The defense played well, making some great plays. Kayla had confidence in herself, and it was nice to see a senior step up like that.”
The Hawks went 3-0 in the Lower State Championship Series. But they dropped Game 1, 2-0, to Crescent. A four-hour bus ride and a vocal crowd made the task much more difficult. But the Hawks returned home and posted a 2-1 decision to set up the memorable Game 3.
“Before the game, I told them to enjoy the environment,” Moffett said. “Not too many girls get to play in USC’s stadium. They got to experience the entire college package.”
And, they got to experience winning, and the thrill of victory.