COLUMBUS, Ga. - Calhoun coach Diane Smith admitted her team had "a big case of the nerves" in its opening game of the GHSA Class AA state softball tournament Thursday, but once those nerves were shaken, the second-ranked Lady Yellow Jackets took off.
Calhoun scored two runs in the sixth inning to edge Berrien County, 2-1, in the first round, and then sent nine batters to the plate in the opening inning, scoring four times, in a 8-0 win over Harlem to reach the winners-bracket final. The Jackets were looking toward a familiar foe in today's game, but Dade County lost 1-0 to Heard County in a nine-inning game that was nearly two hours late getting started.
"Yes, we had a case of the nerves in that first game and we made too many mistakes," said Smith, whose team had runners thrown out at home and third base late. "But after we got those two runs, we settled down and played like we can."
After scoring an unearned run to tie the game, Raleigh Fitch drove in the go-ahead run with a single. However, Berrien had the bases loaded and one out in the seventh before pitcher Kinsey Liscio induced a fielder's-choice out at home and struck out the final batter.
Against Harlem, Alyssa Shawgo pitched a two-hitter and Emily Weatherman had two-run singles in the first and second innings of the five-inning game.
Dade County, the defending AA champion, began with a 12-0 win over Jeff-Davis as Ali Birchfield had four hits, Macayla Ginn had two hits and three RBIs, Madison Lacy hit a two-run homer and Madison Gossett had two hits to back her one-hit pitching.
• In Class A, Gordon Lee advanced with very similar 8-0 wins over Commerce and Schley County. Sophomore pitcher Emily Armour was dominating, allowing a total of four hits in the two six-inning games and striking out 22. She allowed a leadoff single against Schley County before retiring the final 18 batters in a row.
Jordyn Hamill knocked in three runs in the first game and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the second, and Tiffany Holland was a combined 5-for-8 for the Lady Trojans (30-5). They face Georgia Military College in the winners-bracket final today at 5.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.