published Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Oconee, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe need third game today

By James Beach
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe catcher Cheyenne Burns throws to first base to force out an Oconee County player during first-round play of the Class AAA state softball tournament Wednesday at Chip Liner Field in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe catcher Cheyenne Burns throws to first base to force out an Oconee County player during first-round play of the Class AAA state softball tournament Wednesday at Chip Liner Field in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
Photo by Alyson Wright.

The Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe softball team traded in a little bit of offense for a lot more defense, and the result means another day of play for the Lady Warriors.

LFO (18-16) slipped past Oconee County 4-1 in the second game Wednesday of the opening round of the Class AAA state tournament after dropping the first game 6-3. The two squads will play today at 4 p.m. to decide the best-of-three series.

"This team seems to play its best when it has a little fire to it, and sometimes you have to get that fire lit," said Lady Warriors coach Lisa Rogers-Gray. "Being so young, sometimes it takes a little while to get going."

LFO banged out 10 hits, left 10 runners on base and gave up five unearned runs in the opening contest against the defending AAA state champs. Four Lady Warriors errors spelled doom along with a lack of timely hitting among all the base knocks.

"One thing you can say about these girls, though, is that they will fight. Sometimes we can beat ourselves, but I'm really proud of the way they bounced back," Rogers-Gray said.

In the second game, LFO needed only five hits to manufacture its four runs and turned away Oconee County time and again as sophomore pitcher Cori Elswick stepped up big for the winners.

"We hit some really hard balls and they made some nice plays," Oconee coach Bryan Eades said. "This is what it's all about: Win or go home. We are about as evenly matched as two teams can be."

LFO leadoff hitter Maryanne Morgan was brilliant both offensively and defensively. For the day, she had six hits, three stolen bases and two jewels in center field. The first robbed Oconee of an RBI hit in the second game, and the other was a rocket throw to the plate that ended any hope of an Oconee comeback.

Oconee's Jessie Michael homered and hit a two-run single, and Brianna Strickland drove in two big insurance runs in the top of the seventh in the opener. Ari Carroll had three hits and drove in a run for the Lady Warriors, and Courtney Crawford had an RBI single.

Morgan was the only player with more than one hit in game two, but Crawford and Savannah Franklin had doubles and eventually scored on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. Morgan scored from second on the sac fly that plated Franklin when the ball skipped away from the Oconee catcher.

Beth Posey added a key RBI single in the sixth for insurance, and Elswick made it stand.

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