With one out in the bottom of the fifth in a scoreless tie, Bowdon’s Ember Wood took Summer Wallace’s full-count pitch to deep right field for a two-run home run that would tilt the game in the Red Devilettes’ favor.
“We played well, we put the ball in play and that’s what you got to do,” Bowdon coach Ralph Sanders said. “Two good ball clubs. Don’t take anything from [pitcher] Trinity [Strickland], she threw a great ball game. We played great defense behind her. It was just one of those things. We got the home run, and Ember hit the home run and that got us over the hump.”
For Bremen coach Amy Pointer, it was another game at Bowdon (15-9, 6-0 Region 5-AA) where her team couldn’t quite get the job done. The No. 8 Lady Blue Devils (14-5, 3-2) managed just three hits off Strickland and only one runner got past first base.
“I swear we have a curse here. One pitch that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to and they jack it out to right field. They hit and we didn’t,” Pointer said.
The Red Devilettes have now knocked off the No. 3 and No. 8 teams in Class AA in the state, but don’t expect Sanders to call them upsets.
“I told [the team] before the Heard County game, ‘Look, I don’t think there’s any team, man-for-man, anybody better than we are. We can play with anybody if we come to play.’ I think Carrollton’s tough, and we played them well. I feel like we’re as good as any team if we show up to play and this year we’ve shown up,” Sanders said.
Bowdon had a runner in scoring position with one out in the second and were unable to capitalize, but the real Red Devilette scoring chance came in the third.
Katlyn Buchanan led the inning off with a double and moved to third with a wild pitch. Sydney Boddie’s infield single wasn’t enough to score Buchanan, and Bowdon had runners on the corners with no outs. Strickland walked to load the bases, but Wallace got out of the jam with a strikeout, a fielder’s choice and a deep fly ball to center to exit without giving up a run.
In her first start since last season, Wallace gave up two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work.
“Summer Wallace has not pitched for me for one year and I can’t take anything away from her performance. She has been doing her dead-level best to get well. She pitched a heck of a game. She did a good job. That’s the best you can expect. I don’t know that it would have been any better with anybody else out there starting,” Pointer said.
For Bowdon, Strickland continued to do what she has done all season long for the Red Devilettes. In the complete-game win, the senior hurler pitched the shutout, giving up only three hits, walking three and striking out seven.
The third run of the game came as Bowdon was able to capitalize off Lyric Maze’s lead-off double, as she moved to third on ReShay Brewer’s single and scored on Buchanan’s RBI groundout.
The Lady Blue Devils now have to refocus for their final three games of the regular season, with a trip to Jordan today for a 5:30 p.m. first pitch.
“Mentally, we just have to go take care of business and got to get our mind set for what we’re looking forward to that weekend at the region tournament,” Pointer said.
For Bowdon, the No. 1 seed in the region tournament, an automatic berth in the state tournament and being the host site for the Region 5-AA Tournament rests in its final games. After today’s 5:45 p.m. game at Mt. Zion, the Red Devilettes will have to win at least one of their final two games against Spencer and Kendrick to lock up the top spot in the region.
“We have to beat either Spencer or Kendrick. Heard County has one loss, which is to us, and Bremen has two losses. To finish first, we have to win one of those last two games,” Sanders said.