COLUMBUS, Ga. — Pitchers stole the show for Heritage and Northwest Whitfield in the GHSA Class AAAA Elite Eight softball tournament Thursday, both in the circle and at the plate. As a result, the two Region 7 rivals will meet today at 5 in the winners-bracket final.
Northwest Whitfield's BriLeigh Baggett pitched a two-hitter and a no-hitter as the Lady Bruins defeated Wayne County 3-1 and blanked top-ranked Madison County 5-0, while Heritage's Lauren Lawson shut out Perry, 2-0, and then did not give up an earned run in tossing a one-hitter against Walnut Grove in a 7-1 win. Baggett had the big hit in Northwest's opening game, a two-run single in the fourth inning, and Lawson was 4-for-4 in the Generals' second game, including a three-run homer that sealed the win.
"That home run felt good and those three runs really helped me in the circle," said Lawson (28-4). "We just played well all day, and we need to keep that up tomorrow."
Olivia Tamewitz had two hits in each game and scored three runs for Heritage, while Katie Pritchett had an RBI single in the first game and Shelby Hammontree had two hits in the second.
Northwest, after getting past Wayne County, faced a team many felt was the odds-on favorite to win in AAAA, but Baggett took care of that with her gem.
"In the biggest game of the year she really came up big for us," Northwest coach Jason Brooker said. "It's hard to lose if you pitch a no-hitter. She made great pitches against a great team."
When the two square off today, in a series Heritage leads 4-1 on the season, there will be no surprises.
"Northwest is a solid ball club and I'm not surprised at all we're meeting them again," Heritage coach Steve Chattin said. "They've beaten us and we've beaten them, so it will be a battle."
n In Class AAA, Ringgold, after a 7-4 win over Rockmart, lost 10-2 to defending champion Buford in a rematch of last season's title game. Ringgold will have to win twice today to reach Saturday's title round.
The Lady Tigers got a solo home run from Katie Cain and 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief pitching from Abbey McKinney in their win. McKinney added three hits and Ringgold took advantage of sloppy play by Rockmart with four runs scoring on wild pitches. In the loss to Buford, Morgan Walters broke the game open with a second-inning grand slam.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...