Catawba Ridge’s Chloe Burger throws a pitch during game three of the Copperheads series against Lugoff-Elgin for the Upper State title.

KERSHAW – Errors and difficulty at the plate led to the Catawba Ridge Copperheads losing a decisive game three of the 4A Upper State softball championship to the Lugoff-Elgin Demons 7-3 Friday night.

The game was played at a neutral Andrew Jackson High School with a good mix of fans from both schools. 

The Copperheads struck out nine times and managed just six hits in the game. They finished the season with a 22-9 record and accomplished a lot in their first full season of the sport.

“I am proud of these girls,” said Catawba Ridge head coach Michael Kidd. “I am looking forward to seeing this team grow.”

Catawba Ridge wasted no time scoring in the bottom of the first inning. The Copperheads started laying down bunts to open the game. Audrey Wilson and Braylon Lawrence both got on base and each scored on an effective bunt by Georgia Burford that went over the head of most of the charging infield. 

Lugoff-Elgin came right back to tie the game in the top of the second inning and scored five runs on three hits to take the lead. The Demons took advantage of the mental and physical errors in the inning by Catawba Ridge. 

“A pitcher seeing a team three times makes it tough,” Kidd said. “They came out gritty and put the ball in play.”

In the bottom of the second, Wilson came back to close the gap as she got a solo home run to make it 5-3. It was her third home run of the series. 

Starting pitcher Chloe Burger settled back down in the third inning for Catawba Ridge and left a runner stranded after a two out single. However, the bottom of Lugoff-Elgin batting order gave Burger the most trouble. Ninth hitter in the Demons lineup Sydney Branham hit her second triple of the game in the fourth inning and was driven in by leadoff hitter Emily Vinson to make it 6-3.

For the second straight game, Catawba Ridge struggled in the field making three errors in the game after making five in game two. Each time the Demons would take advantage and score or gain an extra base. Lugoff Elgin added another run in the sixth inning after the lead-off batter reached on an error and then was driven in by Vinson. 

The Copperheads struggled at the plate after the first inning. Catawba Ridge managed just two hits after that first inning and scored just one run in Wilson’s home run. Catawba Ridge struggled to get base runners on in front of their biggest hitters in both Wilson and Ilacqua. 

“Nobody was setting the table for them,” Kidd said. 

Ilacqua and Wilson led Catawba Ridge at the plate as both went 2-3. Wilson had an RBI and Burford went 1-3 with two RBI as well for the Copperheads.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Catawba Ridge’s Audrey Wilson gets a high five from teammate Janelle Ilacqua after hitting her third home run of the three game series against Lugoff-Elgin.