Prep softball: Burdette pitches Black Eagles to sweep
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston senior Alli Burdette is no stranger to great pitching performances.
After all, the senior is the reigning Kanawha Valley Player of the Year from last season, and is an All-State player as well.
Of all the great accomplishments Burdette has earned throughout her Black Eagles career, her outing on Wednesday may top them all.
Burdette picked the perfect time to throw a perfect game, just the second of her career, helping the Black Eagles earn an 8-0 home victory over George Washington (8-18) in the first game of a Class AAA Region 3, Section 3 doubleheader.
Things were much more difficult in the second game as GW scored four runs in the top of the first inning but the Black Eagles scored the next 11 runs of the game to earn a 11-5 victory.
With the doubleheader sweep, SC (19-9) advances to regional semifinal action next Thursday against the winner of Riverside and Ripley.
"That's Alli," SC Coach Bobby Catlett said. "It doesn't get better than that. She's a tremendous pitcher. She works extremely hard at her craft and that is why she is as good as she is. You can't say enough about her."
"It was awesome," Burdette said. "I didn't even know I had it until after the game because I was focused. It feels great. I was happy. I wouldn't say it was my greatest performance but I did well."
Despite the dominance of Burdette, SC was still in a scoreless first game in the fourth inning when the Black Eagles finally got on the scoreboard, plating three runs and then tacking off five more in the fifth inning to earn the mercy rule victory.
Olivia Orcutt was the offensive hero, driving in four runs while hitting her first home run of the season, a three-run walk-off shot in the fifth inning that gave the Black Eagles the mercy-rule win.
In the second game with its season on the line, GW changed its offensive philosophy against the seemingly unhittable Burdette and the Black Eagles as eight of the nine Patriot batters bunted in the first inning.
It worked to the tune of four runs despite only getting one hit, a rare bunt double by Taylor Casto. SC committed three throwing errors, giving GW the quick start and 4-0 lead after just one inning.
"The first inning we came out, it was the best we have looked against them in years," GW Coach Gwynne Johnson said. "When you're fighting for your life, it's a whole different story. The girls fought and didn't roll over. We just small balled it and everything was rolling."
The Patriots still led 4-1 in the sixth inning before the Black Eagles rallied to tie the game with the help of a couple costly errors. GW led 4-2 with two outs when two infield errors helped SC knot things up.
The Black Eagles sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh inning, plating seven runs with the big blow coming from junior Aayliyah Phillips, who hit a grand slam, her second home run of the season.
"We had a rough first inning," Catlett said. "They were down but I told them as bad and as ugly as it was, the good thing is that it's the first inning. There was a lot of game left.
"It was 4-1 in the sixth inning and was getting down to the nitty gritty. I was a little nervous but you never quit, and that's proof right there. It's a base runner or two here, and things can happen. It's a crazy game."