With a pair of wins at Echols County on Wednesday, the Mt. Zion High School softball team will be making the trip to the elite eight.
In Game 1, solid offensive performances from Ashley Smith (2-for-4, RBI), Brittany Buice (3-for-3, run) and Corrssia Perry (2-for-4, 2 RBI) supported a complete-game effort from Jayde Bradley in the circle for the 6-1 win.
The second game had a little more excitement.
With the game tied 2-all in the sixth, Smith scored the game-winning run on a passed ball. Bradley got the win in Game 2, as well, after she came in for Madison Logan in the fifth inning. Jordan Crews led the offense with a hit and two RBI, while Bradley, Madison Barrow, Perry and Lexi Ackles all had hits. Ackles also scored a run in the win.
Mt. Zion (20-12) will face ninth-ranked Seminole County in the opening game next Thursday at the Columbus Softball Complex.
In other state softball action from Wednesday:
No. 1 NW Whitfield 5-14, No. 3 Carrollton 0-1: The season for the No. 7 Lady Trojans (27-9) came to a close, as they were swept in two games by the top-ranked team in the state.
Carrollton found out why NW Whitfield pitcher Emily Boyd will be playing at the University of Mississippi next year, managing just four hits off the hurler before some defensive struggles emerged in Game 2.
The losses were the final games for seniors Randi Phillips and Jessie Pruett, who was out with an injury during the playoffs, at Carrollton.
“I’m very proud of them,” Carrollton coach Lisa Phillips said. “We played a lot of young people this year and, of course, Jessie and Randi had outstanding careers. It will be a different team next year [without them].”
No. 3 Bremen 1-13, No. 1 Calhoun 3-3: The Lady Blue Devils (22-7) picked up a split to force a third and deciding game against Calhoun today at 5 p.m.
Bremen fell in the first game by two runs even with a stellar pitching performance from Summer Wallace in the circle. BHS coach Amy Pointer said that just one timely hit and an error made the difference in a game where senior Kayleigh Medlin hit a solo home run.
The second game seemed to go the No. 2 Lady Yellow Jackets way, as well, after they scored three runs in the top of the first. But a 12-run fourth inning was all Jacquelyn Hightower needed, as the senior settled down for the complete-game win.
“It was huge,” Pointer said. “We have to come back up here [Thursday], but it’s a good flow to carry over into a must-win game. It was huge. It was unbelievable. We started hitting, they made a couple mistakes, we jumped on them and we never let up. They went through three pitchers in one inning. It was great.”
Along with Wallace and Hightower’s performances in the circle and Medlin’s hits, Morgan Tucker played solid defense, Maddie Gregory came back from an injury and Aly Hindman came through in several at-bats.
The effort will lead to a winner-take-all scenario with a trip to the elite eight and Columbus on the line today.
“I’m very proud of my kids. They played with every amount of heart that they’ve got. If they come out [today] with that, we’ll go to Columbus,” Pointer said.
No. 2 Heard County 5-2, No. 1 Westminster 1-1: The Lady Braves (29-5) got another stellar showing from freshman standout Jordan Watson, who tossed both games to break a school record by earning her 21st and 22nd wins on the season in Atlanta.
In doing so, Heard County is headed to Columbus for the first time since 2006. The Lady Braves open double-elimination play in the elite eight against third-seeded Bacon County (28-6) next Thursday after the Lady Raiders swept No. 1 Monticello on Wednesday.
Watson allowed one run on three hits in the opener and followed that up with another gem, yielding a run in the top of the seventh and then stranding the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at first to earn the win, which broke Laura Hutchins’ school-record 21-win season in 2006.
Heard County cranked out 11 hits in the opener, with Anna Shelnutt (2-for-3) and Cali Harod (2-for-5, 2B, 3B) leading the way. Harod’s triple tied a school record, giving her five on the year.
The Lady Braves got single runs in the first and third inning of the second game, with Harod (2-for-3, 2 runs) scoring both runs.