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Evans wins region softball championship

Posted: October 11, 2017 - 1:29am
Diamond Williams (from left), Aly Reynolds, Leah Powell and Morgan Johnson celebrate after Evans defeated Greenbrier to win its first region championship since 2009 on Wednesday. Powell had two home runs.
Diamond Williams (from left), Aly Reynolds, Leah Powell and Morgan Johnson celebrate after Evans defeated Greenbrier to win its first region championship since 2009 on Wednesday. Powell had two home runs.

Diamond Williams looked at the scoreboard and mentioned four new numbers will have to be added.

Beyond the outfield fence at Evans, the scoreboard lists all the times the Lady Knights have won a region softball championship. There's space adjacent to "2009" to add "2017" to the scoreboard.

Leah Powell hit two home runs and also held Greenbrier hitters at bay for most of the game as Evans defeated the Lady Wolfpack, 6-2, in the Region 3-AAAAAA Championship contest, the school's first region title in eight years.

Evans (23-2) extended its winning streak to 15 games, claiming a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs. The Lady Knights, who went undefeated in region play, will play host to Forest Park in the first round of the state tournament in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Friday.

Evans also has home-field advantage in the second round and can advance to the Elite Eight in Columbus, Ga., for the first time in eight years with two series wins.

"With the region we're in, to be doing what we're doing we must be playing pretty solid," Evans coach Ricky Beale said. "We're playing well. Hopefully, we can continue it for awhile."

In the region tournament, Evans avenged its play from a year ago. The Lady Knights went undefeated against region foes in the 2016 regular season before going 0-2 in the region tournament and getting a No. 4 seed in the state tournament.

"We went 10-0 (in region play) and thought we were going to win," Powell said. "We overlooked everyone. This year, we knew we couldn't underestimate anyone. We had to go out there and practice like a champion and play like a champion."

Greenbrier finished as region runner-up for the second year in a row. The Lady Wolfpack entered the region tournament as a No. 3 seed, but they earned a first-round state playoff series with a 7-2 victory over Heritage in the region semifinals. Greenbrier will play host to Lovejoy in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. Thursday.

"Evans was the best team in the region. We were going to have to play a perfect game to beat them," said coach Garrett Black, who is retiring after the season. "I'm proud of our kids. We've got a No. 2 seed and a home series. We've got a chance to get to Columbus and that's all that matters."

Against Heritage, the Lady Wolfpack were tied at 2 in the second inning when starting pitcher Beth Romanowski was forced to exit the game after taking a line drive off her lower leg. Chayse Eldridge entered in relief and shut down the Lady Patriots offense to notch the victory.

Peyton Watson blasted a solo home run in the fourth inning to stake Greenbrier to a 3-2 lead. Then, Nicole Rogers smashed a two-out, two run triple in the fifth to extend the lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Rogers made a key defensive play, catching Glory Seay's foul pop off a deflection from first baseman Hanna Jones.

With the victory, Greenbrier advanced to play Evans in the region championship finale. The Lady Knights got off to a fast start as Williams and Sydney Baker led off with a pair of infield singles. Then, Powell delivered a three-run shot over the fence.

In the second inning, Powell hit a two-run homer - her 13th in 25 games - to extend the lead to 5-0. Powell then held Greenbrier hitless the first four innings before Carrintyn Greene hit a single up the middle. Greene later added a triple.

Lakeside, which defeated Alcovy to advance to the region tournament, went 0-2 against Evans and Greenbrier. With the No. 4 seed, the Lady Panthers will play at Mundy's Mill on Friday.

In Harlem, the Lady Bulldogs claimed their sixth region title in a row with a doubleheader sweep of Screven County in the Region 4-AA Championship.

Harlem, the defending state champion, improved to 19-6. The Lady Bulldogs open state tournament play with a first-round doubleheader at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Washington County. With a series victory, Harlem will play host to the Jeff Davis-Thomasville winner in the second round, Oct. 18.

"It feels good," Harlem coach Mike Leverett said. "I've been on the losing end of five in a row, so I know how it feels. Six in a row feels great. It puts us in a better position."

Harlem swept its way through the region slate and region tournament in undefeated fashion, capped by wins of 10-1 in five innings and 11-2 in six innings against Screven County (18-9). The Lady Gamecocks' only region losses this season came against Harlem.

"The thing about it is, you win five region titles and sometimes you get complacent, but I told these girls (Screven County) doesn't have a bad ball team," Leverett said. "A lot of our girls came through and put the bat on the ball. No strikeouts. That's good to see."

Harlem's Skyler Wiggins came through in the circle and at the plate. After going 3 for 3 with three RBI and adding four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in Game 1, the left-hander backed it up with two hits in Game 2, including a three-run home run, and five innings of one-run ball.

Kali Garrett added a home run and four RBI in the first game and collected two hits in the second game. The Lady Bulldogs received at least one RBI from four hitters in Game 2.

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Breakout Box

STATE SOFTBALL SCHEDULE

FIRST ROUND

-Washington County at Harlem, doubleheader, 4 p.m., Wednesday

-Lovejoy at Greenbrier, doubleheader, 3 p.m. Thursday.

-Forest Park at Evans, doubleheader, 4 p.m., Friday.

-Lakeside at Mundy's Mill, doubleheader, Friday.

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Region 4-AA Championship

Game 1

HARLEM 10, SCREVEN COUNTY 1 (5 INNINGS)

Screven Co.;000;10;-;1;3

Harlem;102;7x;-;10;9

Sarah Beasley and GeeGee Beasley. Skyler Wiggins and Kali Garrett.

W-Wiggins. L-Beasley.

2B: Wiggins (H), Skylar Strickland (H). HR: Garrett (H).

Leading hitters: Screven County-Kara Canetto 2 for 2. Harlem-Wiggins 3 for 3.

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Game 2

HARLEM 11, SCREVEN COUNTY 2 (6 INNINGS)

Harlem; 211;304;-;11;10

Screven Co.;100;010;-;2;5

Skyler Wiggins, Dixie Hill (6) and Kali Garrett. Kara Canetto, Melanie Mitchell (4) and GeeGee Beasley.

W-Wiggins. L-Canetto.

HR: Wiggins (H).

Leading hitters: Harlem-Wiggins 2 for 2, Garrett 2 for 2, Peyton Perdue 2 for 2.

Records: Screven County 18-9, Harlem 19-6. Next: Harlem and Screven County at home in first round of Class AA playoffs, Oct. 11.

Region 3-AAAAAA Tournament

Greenbrier 7, Heritage 2

Greenb rier;200;120;2;7;10;2

Herita ge;110;000;0;2;6;8

Beth Romanowski. Chayse Eldridge (2) and Camryn Halliday. Faith Hager and Claire Williams. W-Eldridge. L-Hager.

HR: Peyton Watson (G). 3B: Nicole Rogers (G). 2B: Kennedy Stephens (H).

Leading hitters: Greenbrier-Rachel Crowe 4 for 5, Rogers 2 for 3.

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Championship

Evans 6, Greenbrier 2

Greenbrier;000;010;1;2;5;2

Evans;320;100;x;6;7;1

Chayse Eldridge, Beth Romanowski (3) and Camryn Halliday. Leah Powell and Megan McCook. W-Powell. L-Eldridge.

HR: Powell 2 (E). 3B: Carrintyn Greene (G).

Leading hitters: Greenbrier-Greene 2 for 3. Evans-Powell 2 for 2.

 

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