The Stratford Eagles scored two runs in the first inning, and pitcher Mary Wilson Avant made that hold up as the Eagles defeated Tattnall Square 2-0 on Tuesday in both teams’ first GHSA Region 7A-A game.
Avant allowed only two hits while striking out 12. Caroline Gilbert took the loss for Tattnall.
“I felt great going out with a two-run lead, and it allowed me to pitch my game and relax a little bit,” said Avant, who now has 47 strikeouts in 30 innings of work this year. “I have a lot of faith in my team to make plays for me, and it’s always a big win when it’s a rival like Tattnall.”
Gilbert had her only trouble in the first inning. Lucy Bobbitt led off with a walk and then stole second. Gilbert almost got out of trouble, retiring the next two batters, but Amelia Brown doubled to right field, scoring Bobbitt, and then Evans McCook singled to score Brown.
Avant was dominant early, striking out five in the first two innings. She ran into her only trouble in the third when she walked three batters, but after a visit from Stratford head coach Jeff Treadway, she got Taylor Spivey to ground out to end the inning.
“I am not really going to tell Mary Wilson much about pitching, but I just wanted to give her a minute to get her thoughts together,” Treadway said. “It was a humid night, and she was able to get her hands dry again, and it worked out. She is really one of the better pitchers at this level, and I just wanted to give her a little break.”
Meanwhile Gilbert was also cruising, retiring the final 14 batters she faced. She gave up only five hits and issued only one walk. But the Trojans’ offense could not muster a rally, managing only a two-out double in the fifth by Liz Wainwright the rest of the game. But Avant struck out Jordan Allen to end the inning and retired the next six hitters she faced to improve the Eagles’ record to 4-1.
Brown led the way for Stratford with two hits.
“We know in this region that everyone is almost the same, and getting a win against a strong team in the first region game is always important,” Treadway said. “We didn’t hit much after the first inning, but with Mary Wilson on the mound, we felt very good about things.”