In the fifth, Cassi Sargent doubled in a run and Rogers followed with a laser off the center-field fence to knock in another as the Redskins went ahead 4-0. Rogers' single bounced off the wall so hard that it limited her to just one bag. Hurricane tacked on another run on an error for a 5-0 advantage. Meredith Cain, who singled, scored on an error in the sixth as SC closed to 5-1.
The fourth-seeded Black Eagles (16-9) applied some pressure in the bottom of the seventh, just as they did in the first meeting with Hurricane during the regular season, when SC plated two runs in the final frame before falling 5-4 on March 22.
Olivia Orcutt reached on an error and Aaliyah Phillips singled with one out Tuesday. Black Eagles designated hitter Bailey Bennett sent a rocket to center field, but Hurricane's Nicole Pierson made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch on the run to keep the runners from advancing. Rogers than registered her 10th strikeout to end the game.
"Our energy was there and our effort level was there,'' said SC coach Bobby Catlett, who starts five freshmen. "I thought we played as good as we could. We made it interesting at the end. [Hurricane is] very tough. You've got to play perfect and have some luck.''
SC starter Alli Burdette gave up five runs (three earned) on five hits in six innings with six strikeouts and three walks. The Black Eagles' Phillips finished 2 for 3 with a double.
Hurricane and Midland, which is also No. 2 in the state poll, split during the regular season with the Redskins, winning 15-13 at home then falling to the Knights 9-8 in the semis of the Best of the Best Softball Classic.
"I feel like our teams are so evenly matched, great hitters throughout the lineup,'' said Caldwell, whose squad won the MSAC tourney on Midland's field last year. "[Our players] want to win it on their home field. They're hungry to win it again.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.