Catawba Ridge’s Janelle Ilacqua gets her 100th career hit at the school with a single in the sixth inning. Photos by Rob Upton

An early hiccup was enough to make the Catawba Ridge Copperhead faithful nervous, but in the end the home team rallied to take the opening game of the 4A Upper State bracket beating the Greenwood Eagles 7-2. 

Greenwood took an early 2-0 lead after the first two innings against Catawba Ridge. Greenwood went up 1-0 after the first inning scoring their first run on two hits. The Eagles added another run in the second this time without getting a hit. 

The early offense for Greenwood made Catawba Ridge head coach Michael Kidd nervous. 

“I was wondering if we were going to come alive,” he said. 

The Copperheads had hits in the first and second innings but never were able to plate a run. Braylon Lawrence tripled in the opening inning, but was left stranded at third. In the second inning, Kendra Murray singled to lead things off, but never made it past second base.

A light rain fell in the early going of the game, but when it stopped, the Copperheads really started. In the fifth inning, Catawba Ridge came alive. The Copperheads batted around in the inning scoring four runs on two hits and two errors. 

Audrey Wilson would single and then Lawrence would reach on an error as two runs scored to tie the game. Greenwood would make their second consecutive error allowing another run to score before Sarah Rocheleau would hit an RBI double to put Catawba Ridge up 4-2. 

In the sixth inning, the Copperheads added three more runs off two hits. Janelle Ilacqua led the inning off with a single getting her 100th career hit at Catawba Ridge. Lawrence would then drive in a run two batters later and a third Greenwood error would allow Lawrence and Wilson to score as well. 

Lawrence would go 2-4 with an RBI and Murray would go 3-3 with an RBI, including two doubles.

Catawba Ridge pitcher Chloe Burger regrouped after struggling some the first two innings and got into a rhythm. Burger struck out 11 batters and walked two while allowing four hits in the game. 

“Chloe did what we needed her to do,” Kidd said. 

Catawba Ridge will now host the Easley Green Wave Monday at home. Easley beat the York Cougars 3-1 to open their portion of the Upper State playoffs. The win puts Catawba Ridge at 24-4 overall on the season.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Copperheads’ pitcher Chloe Burger gets a hug from a teammate after the game.