Lady Raiders close out regular season with win over Westwood
By Ken Gustafson
AMERICUS – After a tough 7-3 loss to Crisp Academy the day before, the Southland Academy Lady Raider Softball Team (SAR) wanted to finish the 2020 regular season with a win over Westwood (WS) so that they would have some positive momentum going into the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) state playoffs. Led by their six seniors, Katie Rogers, Sara Beth Storey, Reese Roland, Alli Dent, Holly McCain and Brookland Weaver, the Lady Raiders were able to do exactly that by scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat the Lady Wildcats 11-3 in a run-ruled game on Tuesday, October 6, at the Southland Academy softball complex.
“We came out smoking with the bats and got a lot of hits,” said SAR Head Coach Rusty Tondee. “We told them before the game that we didn’t hit as well yesterday as we usually do and if they would hit the ball hard, make solid contact, good things would happen and they listened. From the first batter to the last batter, we hit the ball well today and I’m so proud of our six seniors. They’ve been with me for four years. You can’t ask for six better girls to coach.”
Going into the bottom of the sixth, the outcome was still in doubt, as SAR only led 5-3. However, all six seniors notched six straight hits in the inning, including an RBI double from Storey, to score five runs and take a 10-3 lead. Morgan Minick grounded out for the first out of the inning, but Samantha Wojnar ended the game on an RBI single.
Holly McCain had a tremendous day at the plate for the Lady Raiders. The senior went 4 for 4 with a triple, three runs scored and an RBI. Both Rogers and Roland each went 3 for 4 and combined to drive in five RBIs. Dent had a nice day at the plate, as she went 2 for 4 with two singles and runs scored and Brookland Weaver also went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI. In total, the Lady Raiders scored 11 runs on 19 hits and committed no errors, while WS scored three runs on 11 hits and committed one error.
Storey had another solid outing in the circle for SAR. She pitched the entire game and gave up three runs on 11 hits, struck out six batters and walked three to earn the win.
The Lady Wildcats opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. With the bases loaded, Storey hit Sarah Sheffield, which allowed Anna Morey to score from third.
However, the Lady Raiders responded in their half of the inning. With runners on first and second with one out, Rogers drove home Dent on an RBI single to tie the game. Roland followed that up with a two-run single to give SAR a 3-1 lead. After Brookland Weaver grounded out for the second out of the inning, Morgan Weaver got an infield hit and Morgan Minick drove in another run on an RBI single to make it 4-1 SAR.
The Lady Wildcats scored a run in the second and third innings to get within one run at 4-3, but with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, McCain belted a triple to center field and Rogers drove McCain home on an RBI single to give the Lady Raiders a 5-3 lead.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, WS had the tying run at first when Hannah Glass was able to draw a walk, but Storey was able to strike out McKenley Faircloth to end the WS threat. After that, it was all Lady Raiders, as they exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the victory.
Glass, along with Emily Childress and Robby Vann, led the WS offense, as each of them went 2 for 3 at the plate.
Vann took the loss for the Lady Wildcats. She gave up 11 runs on 19 hits and struck out three SAR batters.
With the win, SAR finishes the regular season at 8-9, while WS falls to 8-7.
The Lady Raiders will now await who their opponent is and where they will play in the first round of the GISA Class AAA State Playoffs. Stay tuned to the Americus Times-Recorder for further details.
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