The ball bounces out of the glove of Winthrop’s Kate Perkins as Madison’s Emily Edgerly slides into second with a stolen base during Wednesday afternoon’s game in Winthrop. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Winthrop’s Danielle McClure is tagged out on a very close play by Madison’s Marah Hall during a stolen base attempt. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Madison’s Aishah Malloy is tagged out by Winthrop catcher Hanna Caprara during Wednesday afternoon’s game in Winthrop. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Madison’s Aishah Malloy is tagged out by Winthrop catcher Hanna Caprara during Wednesday afternoon’s game in Winthrop. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Madison’s Aishah Malloy is tagged out by Winthrop catcher Hanna Caprara during Wednesday afternoon’s game in Winthrop. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

WINTHROP — Hits were hard to come by Wednesday when Madison and Winthrop played in a rematch of last year’s Class C South softball regional final.

The Bulldogs swatted more, and did enough with them, to escape with a 1-0 victory.

“To hold a lineup like that down 1-0, it just came down to who was going to get that one hit at the right time and they got it,” Winthrop coach Chuck Gurney said. “We had our chances, but they got the hit when they needed it.”

Ramblers starting pitcher Layne Audet retired the first eight batters of the game, then Madison’s No. 9 hitter, Emily Edgerly, ended Audet’s no-hit start with a looping single behind the first baseman. Edgerly stole second, but leadoff batter Ashley Emery popped up a bunt to the the catcher to end the Bulldogs’ first threat.

Winthrop (1-2) got to Madison starter Lauria LeBlanc early, in the form of walks. The sophomore gave free passes to a pair of batters in the first, then another in the second — with Maria Dostie stealing second to get into scoring position — but the Ramblers couldn’t take advantage of the walks.

“I kind of felt like sooner or later if we keep getting that runner to second base somebody’s going to get a bloop hit or hit one in the gap because there’s some good hitters in that lineup, but they’re pitcher did a good job keeping us off balance,” Gurney said. “So I tip my cap to her.”

LeBlanc walked Audet with two outs in the third, as well, but courtesy runner Danielle McClure was caught stealing to end the inning.

“Four walks in a game, you can’t have it in a 1-0 game, or a game this close,” Madison coach Chris LeBlanc said. “She’s getting better, and again, I go back to she’s a sophomore. We’re only in game five, so we just got to keep her focused, and I think last game she only had a couple of walks.”

“I was trying to find my rhythm” Lauria LeBlanc said. “And I wasn’t really used to the harder ground, too, so that was pretty tough.”

LeBlanc gave up her one and only hit in the fourth, with Bry Baxter singling through the left side of the infield before moving to second on an Olivia Simonson sacrifice groundout, but was lights-out after that. An error in the seventh accounted for the only other Winthrop baserunner the rest of the way.

“Ashley started doing a lot more off-speeds and I think that helped a lot too,” Lauria LeBlanc said. “It got them off balance and it helped me too.”

The Bulldogs (5-0) couldn’t take advantage of their second hit of the game, an Aishah Malloy lead-off double. Malloy tried scoring when LeBlanc’s bunt turned into an error, but second baseman Moriah Hajduk fired to catcher Hannah Caprara in time to tag out Malloy.

LeBlanc made it to third but was left stranded.

Emery singled and scored in the sixth for the game’s only run. Her trek from first to third on Whitney Bess’s sacrifice bunt put her in position to score when Audet threw a wild pitch.

“She basically has the green light because by the time I recognize it, and either try to tell her to go or stop, it’s too late,” Chris LeBlanc said. “With her speed that’s what we like to do.”

The Ramblers made a little bit of noise in the bottom of the seventh. Baxter reached on an error to lead off, then moved to second on Simonson’s sacrifice bunt. LeBlanc struck out Sam Allen for the second out, then started 0-2 against Dostie before running the count full. LeBlanc admitted to getting nervous at that point, but after re-focusing she struck out Dostie looking to end the game.

She finished with nine strikeouts. Audet struck out five batters, allowed five hits and issued no walks.

“I hope we see those guys again down the road because it’s a great game, a great matchup,” Gurney said.

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