TRENTON, Ga. — Natalie McLaughlin tossed her helmet after flying out to end a l playoff double-header at Dade County High School.
The Fannin County outfielder just missed a home run that would have won the second game and advanced the Lady Rebels into the next round of the Class AA playoffs.
Instead, her shot landed in a glove to give Dade County a 6-4 win in the nightcap after Fannin County won the first game 5-3 in eight innings.
"Tonight was just like a roller coaster up and down," said Fannin County shortstop Karly Thompson. "I've been shaking all night. Tomorrow we'll have to be as positive as possible."
Fannin and Dade are scheduled to play the deciding game three today at 5 with Fannin County having to make the 2 1/2 hour drive two days in a row.
"Get home and get to bed," Fannin coach David Dyer told his players before they scattered. "It's better to earn it. If things were easy everybody would be doing it."
In the first game, the Lady Wolverines led 2-1 and were poised to score more. Madison Gossett dropped down a two-strike bunt and Sydney Vaughn broke for home where she was called out. Then a throw down to third nailed Haley Gass for an inning-ending double play.
Thompson went 2-for-3 in the first game with two runs and the go-ahead RBI in the top of the eighth on a double to deep center which started a three-run inning.
"We showed some perseverance to overcome some mistakes," Dade coach Tim Ellis said. "It would have been easy to lay down but we didn't."
The Lady Wolverines struck first in the second game on an RBI double by Carly Stephens in the top of the first. She gave Dade a 4-3 lead with a three-run triple in fifth inning. And she scored the final run in the sixth inning on an two-run single by Gossett.
"It's fitting that we'll have a game three because we're two good teams that will fight and claw to the death," Ellis said. "That's why I love the playoffs."
Haleigh McBryar earned the win for Dade County (24-13). Sadie Golden pitched both games for the Lady Rebels (18-14).
"Emotions were up and down," Golden said. It was stressful. We'll have to do it again tomorrow."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...