Bartow won both its Pool B games, played Saturday and Monday, and was to play West Point, the No. 2 seed from Pool A, late Tuesday night with the winner advancing to the championship game today.
Brenton Baggett, Bartow County Parks and Recreation Department assistant director, said pitching proved the county’s strong point in both pool games.
Bartow 12, Northern 2
Rachael Lee sat Northern’s batters down in order in the top of the first inning in West Point on Monday, striking out one.
Lee then helped her own case in the bottom of the frame with a single. Saydee Najarro was substituted as a pinch runner for her and scored her team’s first run when Victoria O’Neal tripled her in, giving Bartow a 1-0 lead.
Northern responded with two runs in the second inning before O’Neal was inserted into the game as a pitcher with one out, the score 2-1.
O’Neal struck out the two final batters in the inning and Bartow escaped it without further damage.
Bartow sent seven runners around the bases in the bottom of the inning to surge to an 8-2 lead.
Sadye Johnson started the offensive production by drawing a base on balls to get aboard. She advanced to second when a second walk was issued and Brooke Evans then singled to load the bases.
Emmalee Cigainero singled in two runs and O’Neal doubled in two runs. Haley Wells reached on an error and one run scored.
Johnson singled in two runs, Wells and Chloe Souders, to put Bartow up, 8-2, after two complete innings of play.
O’Neal struck out the side in the third inning but Bartow also failed to score in its half of the frame.
Lee took the mound in the top of the fourth and held Northern to no runs.
In the bottom of the frame, O’Neal led off with a single, Wells reached on an error and Souders walked to load the bases.
Johnson hit a grounder that hugged the fair side of the right field line for an inside-the-park grand slam home run that tacked on four more runs for a 12-2 lead and ended the game under mercy-rule guidelines.
Bartow 10, Franklin 0
The Bartow All-Stars toppled Franklin County, 10-0, in four innings on Saturday as O’Neal threw a no-hitter.
Bartow scored four runs in the first inning for an early lead.
The team tacked on two more runs in the second inning, to take control of the game with a 6-0 lead. The local team added four more runs in the fourth inning for a 10-0 lead that invoked the mercy rule.
Members of Pool A are No. 1 seed Western out of Macon, No. 2 seed West Point and No. 3 seed Elbert County.
Pool B members include No. 1 seed Bartow, No. 2 seed Northern out of Columbus and No. 3 seed Franklin County.