A dominant pitching effort by Wando’s Alyssa Heinrich put an end to Conway’s softball season on Monday by a score of 4-0 in the Class 5A Lower State playoffs.
Heinrich struck out 15 batters in the game, allowing just one hit and zero walks. In her seven innings, she threw just 99 pitches.
“She was incredible for us today,” said Wando coach Steven Legette. “She’s been up-and-down a lot this season, but today she put together her best effort. We charted her pitches today and she hit her spots more times than any game this season – when we needed it the most.”
For Conway, starting pitcher Neci Hemingway allowed five hits in the game and each run Wando scored was unearned. She struck out five and walked three in the game, giving her team a chance to come back in the contest.
“We just couldn’t get the bats going,” Conway coach Mike Skipper said. “We didn’t score any runs in the last two games (in the Lower State playoffs) and I’m just not sure why. Today, (Heinrich) kept us way off balance. Anything we did to try and get going, she answered.”
Wando put up all four of its runs in the second inning, all scoring due to Conway errors. The Warriors’ Camden Carter started off the frame with a single to right field, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, then advanced and scored on a pair of errors. Two more runners would reach base, one on an error and another on a walk. Emma Birsner would knock in two runs with a single to second base, which resulted in a throwing error to score three runs. Wando would threaten again in the third and fifth innings, but couldn’t muster any more offense against Hemingway.
For Wando, Birsner was 1-for-2 with 3 RBI, a run scored and two walks. Ashley Rowell secured Conway’s lone hit, going 1-for-3 in the game.
Wando will advance to play Ashley Ridge at home on Wednesday in another elimination game.
Conway’s season ends with a region title and a deep playoff run to hang its hat on.
“This was an incredible season for our team,” Skipper said. “If you would’ve told me we would win the region and make it this far in the playoffs, I would sign up for it every time. This team had a great season and has a lot to build on. Sure, this isn’t the way we wanted it to end and it stings, but we have a lot to be proud of this year.”