MINT HILL, NC – The Mint Hill Fury, the American Legion Lady Fastpitch Softball team representing Post 555 locally, played and won their first-ever playoff game at home 10-5 against Gaston County.
The young ladies played inspired softball. They were aggressive from the opening ceremony until the lights went out after the ball game. They competed with grit and determination in the opening round against a solid opponent who has been on a winning streak of late.
The team dedicated the game to Kassidy, a softball player who collapsed on the field during a game at Bunker Hill Optimist Park in Claremont, NC. During the 50-50 raffle, $404.00 was collected for the family with the assistance of 13-year-old Ashlee Boteilho and 10-year-old sister Chloe. These two girls did a great job, and their effort is much appreciated by all in attendance who so willingly made a contribution.
The Fury snapped the Gaston Braves winning ways with a huge second-inning explosion, but Mint Hill took an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning when the speedy MiKenna Williams smacked a triple into the right-center field gap and scored on a long sacrifice fly by Emma Bosquet.
In the second inning, the Braves answered, scoring 2 runs of their own. However, the Fury ignited for 7 runs on multiple base hits, two base-on-balls, a solo home run by Mackenzie Grant, a double by Bosquet, and a grand slam crushed by Taylor Houseton to complete the scoring.
Gaston County added 2 unearned runs in the sixth when the Fury defense had a combination of unusual mental and physical miscues and tossed the ball around the field, committing 3 errors with relief pitcher Ciara Farrar on the mound. But the Fury would rebound and add 2 insurance runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame. Bosquet led off with a solid single to left, followed by Midori Walkup with another single, and Mallory Shaver dropped-in a base hit to right to drive in Bosquet. With two outs, and Walkup still on second base, Mackenzie Grant would drill a line drive single to center, scoring Walkup and giving the Fury a comfortable 10-4 advantage with three outs remaining.
The Braves would scratch a run off of Farrar in the seventh, but she would get the final two outs on a grounder back to the mound, and another to second base to end the ball game securing the win.
Taylor Houseton started on the rubber for Mint Hill; she pitched 5 solid innings and had the Braves’ hitters baffled most of the night. Five Fury players had multiple hits: Williams a triple, single; Bosquet double, single; Shaver 3 base hits; Houseton a grand slam home run, single; and Mackenzie Grant, solo shot, single. All the hits made a significant contribution, extending an inning or driving in key runs with timely hitting.
The Fury will hit the road Wednesday night at 7:00 pm to face Rowan County. Mint Hill will be seeking revenge after a 5-4 loss at home the last time the two teams met during the regular season. However, now is crunch time with every contest a one-game elimination until the District Championship round, which is the best of a three-game series.