Tennessee and South Carolina's softball teams advanced to the Little League Southern Regional championship game, winning semifinal games Monday at Arnold S. White Stadium.
In the first semifinal game, defense was key for both Tennessee and Virginia. Tennessee had four hits and Virginia had two, but Tennessee's two-hit second inning proved the deciding factor as it won 2-0.
In the inning, Kenzie Mullins had an RBI flyout to right, and after Kirsten Honeycutt doubled, Mallory Black drove in Tennessee's second run on a single.
A defensive play stood out for both teams with Virginia catcher MacKenzie Eppard diving in front of home plate to catch a pop out for the first out of the fifth. In the bottom half of the inning, Mullins made the final out on an over-the-head catch on a ball heading toward deep centerfield, preventing Virginia from scoring with a runner on third.
In Monday's evening semifinal, South Carolina was down 1-0 when an offensive burst in the fourth helped propel it past West Virginia 12-2 in five innings. South Carolina had nine players reach base in the fourth, scoring seven runs on six hits. The inning was highlighted by three RBI doubles by Ally Reynolds, Alyssa Lou Davis and Carley Hoover, as well as a two-run single by Kati Smothers.
South Carolina scored five more runs in the fifth, and West Virginia added a run in the bottom half of the inning.
In consolation games Monday, Georgia defeated Palma Ceia/Tampa Bay/Interbay 5-1, and North Carolina beat Alabama 4-1.
Softball Southern Regional
Where: Arnold S. White Stadium, 658 58th St. S., Gulfport
Today: Championship, Tennessee vs. South Carolina, 6 p.m.