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South Sumter eliminates Tornadoes 2-1 in quarterfinals

BY CLIFF SMELLEY

Staff Writer

South Sumter freshman pitcher Marissa Mesiemore gave up just two hits and hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth to lead the Raiders to a 2-1 victory over Bradford in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal softball game on April 23 in Starke.

The Tornadoes (18-8) rallied in the seventh inning to defeat South Sumter in last year’s quarterfinals en route the program’s first-ever appearance in the state semifinals.

This year, Bradford had the tying run on in the bottom of the seventh, but just could never get the hits it needed against Mesiemore.

“She did a great job of getting the ball inside on our hands,” Bradford head coach Daniel Davis said. “We had a tough time hitting the ball hard—a lot of pop-up outs in the infield when she got inside on us. We just never really made the adjustment to turn on that pitch.”

An error and a hit batter put two runners on for South Sumter in the second inning. Bradford committed another error that led to a two-out score, putting the Raiders up 1-0.

Bradford tied the score in the fourth, with Ashton Adkins hitting a line-drive single up the middle to score Cruce, who led off the inning with a double.

Mesiemore hit a one-out home run to center field on a full count to give South Sumter its winning run.

The Raiders (16-8) will host P.K. Yonge (22-3) in a regional semifinal game on Tuesday, April 29. P.K. Yonge, which lost 2-1 to Bradford in the District 5-4A championship game, advanced by defeating the Villages 11-1.

Bradford will graduate just three seniors, including starting pitcher Adkins, who recorded 10 strikeouts against South Sumter. Therefore, Davis has a large, talented group to work with next year.

“I think they’ll come back hungry,” Davis said. “I hope that this can be kind of a springboard into next year for them to be focused and ready to go.”

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