FAIRLEA, WV- Round two of the Josi Ervin vs. Aubrey Smallwood battle went a lot like the first one. Ervin pitched a little better, the Lady Spartans bats were a little more active and Greenbrier East punched their ticket to the sectional title game this Friday, May 5 after a 5-1 victory over the Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles.
Smallwood had been on a recent hot streak for Beckley and is one of the better young pitchers in the state, but East paid her absolutely no attention and no one sent them the memo.
Following an unearned run by the Eagles in the top of the first inning, the Spartans got it going early as well.
Jo. Ervin struck out to lead off the bottom half, but Lindsey Black picked her up and ripped a triple off the right field fence. Taylor Boswell then struck out for the Spartans, but she too was helped out by her teammate, Lily Carola, who hit a long double to center that scored Black. After one frame, the score was knotted up at 1-1.
Ervin then retired Beckley in order for a quick half of the second, and East (21-4) stole the momentum on the first at-bat in the bottom of the second inning. Olivia Plybon hit a solo home run to left field that sent the large crowd on hand into a frenzy and the Spartans took a 2-1 lead. The next three batters for East struck out, but it was visibly apparent that Smallwood’s confidence had dropped down a notch.
An RBI single from Carola in the third put the Spartans up 3-1, then Taylor Boswell stole home on a wild pitch and extended the lead to 4-1. Still not finished, Carola also scored on a wild pitch and Smallwood’s game was shaken.
Woodrow loaded the bases in the fifth still down 5-1, but Jo. Ervin pitched out of the jam and got Brooke Bird to fly out to Carola at first base.
Hailey Ervin made a great leaping grab in the seventh for the final out of the night as the Spartans jumped in celebration along the third base line.
Carola led East at the plate and went 3-3 with a run scored and two RBIs. Plybon’s homer and Black’s triple were the only other two Spartan hits.
Ervin held Beckley (15-10) to three hits. She struck out eight batters and did not allow an earned run.
Smallwood did strike out 12 Spartans in six innings but allowed five runs (three earned) and scattered the five hits.
East stays home this Friday night for the title game and waits on the winner of Woodrow and Princeton who will play on Thursday, May 4. Beckley beat Princeton 4-2 on Tuesday night.
The Spartans control their own destiny for a spot in the regionals.
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