FORT MILL --
In a clash between two top-five3A teams in the state, the fifth-ranked Nation Ford Lady Falcons used a six-run fifth inning to overcome the No. 2 team in the state, the Union County Lady Jackets.
The 8-2 victory propelled Nation Ford into the District IV title game Wednesday. Union County and York faced off Monday to see who the Lady Falcons will play (results not available by press time).
Nation Ford put together a solid outing both at the plate and in the field.
The Lady Falcons scattered 10 hits and had three players with multiple hits, including senior Zharne Glover, who went 3-4 with an RBI.
“Our offense is playing up,” said Nation Ford head coach Michael Kidd. “We are getting timely hitting and creating errors. That is our game plan.”
Nation Ford’s All-State pitcher, Bradlee Holeman, cruised through the first six innings allowing just one hit, until a little speed bump in the seventh broke up a would-be shutout.
In the second inning, junior Mandy Mitchell singled for the Lady Falcons’ first hit of the game. Two batters later, junior Lauren Kidd drove in Mitchell to put Nation Ford up early and that’s where things would stay for a while.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead, Nation Ford busted through in the fifth inning, scoring six runs on three hits and two Union County errors.
A walk to junior Carley Williams and an error allowed junior Ashley Trull to reach base before Glover singled to load things up.
After a pitching change, senior Kim Ryder was hit by a pitch, which brought Williams in to score. Then, senior Donna Hollingsworth and Mitchell each hit two-run doubles to put the Lady Falcons up 6-0 at that point. Another error would allow Mitchell to score before the end of the inning and gave Nation Ford a comfortable lead.
Holeman continued to cruise in the top of the sixth and in the bottom of the inning, Nation Ford was able to add another run on three hits.
Trull doubled to get things started and Glover singled her in before being moved around by another single from Ryder.
In the top of the seventh, Union County scored two runs on three hits to rock the boat for Nation Ford.
After an out to open the inning, Union County’s Brook Kelly, who got two of the Lady Jackets’ four hits, would single as would second baseman Katie Melton and right fielder Tanijah Hunter, to drive in Union County’s first run.
A couple of walks by Holeman hurt some too, but Nation Ford was able to get the remaining two outs without much damage being done.
Kidd said he was proud of his team and how Holeman was pitching. Holeman allowed just two runs on four hits as she walked three and struck out seven. She had a no-hitter going through three and two-thirds innings.
“She is pitching as well as she has all year,” Kidd said.