Bartow softball teams prepare for playoffs, wrap up seasons
by Jason Greenberg
Oct 01, 2013 | 1086 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Cartersville’s Mallory Jackson fouled the ball off her foot in the second inning of Monday’s game, she could have asked to be replaced in the game. Cartersville head coach Rick Holsomback could have replaced her with a pinch hitter or brought in a pinch runner after she drew a walk in the at bat.

After Jackson hobbled around for a few moments and took a couple of painful practice swings, Holsomback left Jackson in the game and the junior first baseman decided to stay at the plate.

The next inning, Jackson came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in a scoreless game, and delivered a grand slam to right-center field to give the Lady Canes a 4-0 lead and propel them to a 9-1 victory over North Murray.

“It still hurts really bad,” Jackson said of her injury after the game. “I just tried to put the ball in play, make contact and do the fundamentals.”

Jackson’s clutch home run sparked a rally by the Lady Canes that saw them score nine runs in four innings to put region foe North Murray away.

Jackson came through once again in the fifth inning when, after back-to-back doubles by Kennedy Bailey and Annie Holsomback, Jackson hit a line drive single between the North Murray shortstop and third baseman to bring in two runs.

“I had all the confidence in the world in her,” Holsomback said. “She has been hitting solid all year. She just saw a pitch she could drive and it worked out great for us.

“All it takes is that one hit, that one big play, and it all works.”

Savannah Summers then hit a two-run, pinch hit double to make the score 7-1. Kailah Rain then drove in an eighth run on an infield single.

The next inning, Maddie Geiger hit a run scoring single with two outs to give Cartersville an eight run lead and wrap up the game.

Annalyn Yantis had another outstanding outing in the pitcher’s circle, with the only blemish being a fifth inning North Murray home run.

Jackson finished 2-for-3 with a walk and 5 RBIs. Bailey hit two doubles on the game and also walked.

Cartersville had dropped a game to North Murray earlier in the season, one of the games in a slide where the Lady Canes lost four out of five games.

Cartersville has played much better since and they were anxious to get revenge on North Murray.

“Oh yeah, we were all getting ready before the game,” Jackson said.

Cartersville is now 13-9 on the season and 8-4 in the region. The Lady Canes are currently in third place in the region, but can take over second with a win today at home against Coahulla Creek and a win Thursday against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.

Holsomback believes the midseason struggles may have helped his team.

“Adversity is great,” he said. “It makes you tougher. It builds character.”

Excel storms back to tie

The Excel Christian Academy softball team has had some impressive wins in its first season under head coach Chad Parker.

However, Parker believes the Lady Eagles’ 5-5 tie at home Monday night against Mount Paran may have been one of the best games his young team has played all season.

Excel scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game and complete the impressive comeback. The game was called due to darkness after the seventh.

Against who Parker called “the best pitcher we faced all season,” the Excel offense was shut down for five innings. The young team showed resiliency when the bats started to come around in the sixth and broke through in the seventh inning.

“We were facing a senior pitcher who has already signed a scholarship somewhere and she was dealing. She was really good,” Parker said. “It was an exciting game. The biggest thing I want to say about it is it shows how this team has played this year. They have never quit. They never gave up. They’re just a great bunch.”

Andrea Taylor hit a triple in the game, while Hannah Cauthen, Aliza Baker and Lexi Adams each recorded a double. Shay Sullins had the game-tying hit.

It was senior night for Rebekah Bell and Caroline Moore. Moore walked and scored a run for the Eagles.

Overall, Parker’s team, consisting of mostly freshmen, finished with a 17-9 record while playing a non-region schedule. As a result, Excel was not eligible for the playoffs in 2013, but expect to be in the postseason in upcoming years.

Woodland starts postseason play today

Woodland finished the season second in its division and, as a result, will host the first two rounds of the region playoffs taking place today and Thursday.

The Lady Wildcats face off against East Paulding in a home game at 5:30 p.m. today. If they win, they will play again Thursday with a chance to go to Allatoona on Monday, Oct. 7, to play in the region championship.

Head coach Colman Roberts had discussed the importance of homefield advantage all year long and prioritized it as one of the team’s goals.

Now that the Lady Wildcats have homefield advantage, they will need to win their two home games Tuesday and Thursday to qualify for the state playoffs.

Cass begins playoff run Saturday

The Lady Colonels will start their region tournament Saturday at Heritage Park against LaFayette at 11 a.m.

Cass is the fourth seed. Lafayette has a 19-8 record on the season, but is just 3-7 in the region. If Cass wins, the team will play River Ridge in the second round at 1 p.m.

The Lady Colonels lost to River Ridge after surrendering a 4-run lead on Sept. 10 and would like another chance.

“The girls all want to play River Ridge,” Cass coach Greg Hight said.

First, the Lady Colonels will have to beat LaFayette.

“LaFayette is a pretty good team, but if we play the way we’ve been playing, then we’ll be OK,” Hight said. “The top four teams make states, so we’ll have to win at least three games to advance.”