Calhoun celebrated its sixth consecutive region softball championship Wednesday night, sweeping a doubleheader at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, 6-5 and 11-2.
There was nothing new about the result, but it's been quite the different path this season for coach Diane Smith's team.
The Lady Yellow Jackets (24-8), a No. 3 seed in the south subregion, overcame heavy graduation losses, a couple of key injuries and three senior starters leaving the team during the season.
But after rallying for three runs in the seventh inning of game one Wednesday and erupting for 10 runs in the fifth and sixth innings of game two, Smith believes her team is right on track.
"We've dealt with a lot of adversity this year — injury, sickness, three starters quitting — but the girls have come together, and this was awesome," she said. "We are where we want to be, and we have the girls out there we need. There were games I didn't know which lineup I was going to throw out there until we got in the dugout because we didn't know who would show up or be injured."
Top-seeded LFO (20-12) appeared to be in control in game one behind senior pitcher Kourtney Morrison, who limited Calhoun to two hits through the first six innings. However, a one-out infield error gave the visitors life, and freshman phenom Lyndi Rae Davis followed with a two-run home run over the left-field fence to tie it.
Three pitches later, Blair Hall also went deep just inside the left-field foul pole for a 6-5 lead. Pitcher Maggie McBrayer worked through a one-out walk to make the lead stand up in the bottom half.
"I was just in the moment, not really thinking about hitting a home run," said Davis, who has committed to the University of Georgia. "I just wanted to get a base hit, and it took off. She had been pitching me outside the whole night, and I saw the changeup and was ready for it."
LFO took a 2-0 lead in game two on a Calhoun error and Morrison's RBI single, and the Lady Warriors led 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth when things fell apart.
Carlie Henderson's one-out RBI single tied the game, and two batters later, Davis brought home the go-ahead run with a single. Hall walked, and then Adella Carver — one of three seniors left on the Calhoun roster — hit a three-run homer to left-center for a 6-2 lead.
In the sixth, after Hannah Mashburn and Barnes knocked in runs against a tiring Morrison, Davis put an end to the game with a monster three-run homer. Hall fanned nine in earning the win.
Calhoun and LFO will host best-of-three series in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs, beginning with doubleheaders next Wednesday. Bremen is the region's third seed, with Sonoraville fourth.
* In the 6-AAAA tournament at Heritage Point in Dalton, Heritage continued its strong postseason with a 13-8 win over Northwest Whitfield to win the region title.
The Lady Generals (19-8), seeded fourth entering the tournament, scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to finish the bracket unbeaten.
Northwest reached the title game after a 1-0 losers-bracket final win over top-seeded Ridgeland in eight innings.
Anna Grace Rann went the distance, allowing just five hits, and was made a winner when KayLeigh Fitzgerald scored the winning run on an error.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6296. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.