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Late rally comes up short for South Stanly in final game of softball state finals

The third and final game of the 1A State Finals Series in softball between South Stanly and Camden County came down to the wire.

Trailing by three runs, South tried to rally late but came up just short as the Bruins held on for a 3-2 win.

The victory gave Camden County the school’s first team championship and was the first championship series South Stanly lost in fast-pitch softball after winning titles in 1998 and 2012.

Morgan Brewton got the win for Camden (15-1) allowing one earned run on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

South starting pitcher Sadie Lee, pitching her fourth game in six days, took the loss allowing two earned runs on 10 hits with one strikeout for the Bulls (16-4).

The Bruins broke through in the third inning with two runs. A one out triple by Carlyn Tanis turned into a run when Carleigh Simmons followed with a single. Simmons later scored on an error to add a second run to Camden’s lead.

Camden added a run in the fifth started by Kamryn Nash, who was named the series’ Most Valuable Player. A bunt single, her sixth hit of the series, got the junior on base. She stole second, then scored when Tanis singled up the middle.

South tried to rally in the top of the sixth with two outs. Lee singled and Ali Glover came in as a courtesy runner. Holly Barrier singled to center field and the ball got past Caroline Pait, allowing Glover to score.

Cassie Swink then delivered an RBI single to score Barrier’s pinch runner, Shae Almond, which pulled South within a run, 3-2. A pop fly to Nash in foul ground ended the threat.

Mattie Poulos tried to spark a seventh-inning rally with a one-out single to left, advancing on a Bruins’ error to second. She moved to third on a groundout but the last batter flied out to right to end the game.

Bulls head coach David Poplin said he did not know what differed from Friday’s win and Saturday’s games.

“We just couldn’t get a rally. We couldn’t get going,” Poplin said.

He said he told his players life is like that, where some days everything goes well like the Regional Finals win, but other days “it’s a grind and you can’t catch your breath. No matter what you do, you just can’t get over the hump.”

Poplin said he was thankful to get to the series, saying his team was resilient all year.

“We started out with a bunch of unproven sophomores, two freshmen and three seniors, and I didn’t know where we would land,” Poplin said. “I told them, ‘In the softball world, you all weren’t supposed to be (in the finals). You were here challenging for the state title. (The players) evolved and developed so quickly.’”

Lee, Emma Campbell, Emma Crump and Rachel Huneycutt graduate from this year’s team.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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