After three consecutive losses, including two to open region play, the Woodland High softball team desperately needed a victory Tuesday against Kell.
The Lady Wildcats got that big win thanks to a five-run first inning to improve to 2-4 on the year and 1-2 in region play.
Kell came into the game undefeated in region play, having allowed a combined three runs in its first three region games behind ace Mia DeAngelis, who Woodland coach Colman Roberts called "probably the best pitcher" in Region 7-AAAAA last week.
Woodland (2-4, 1-2) exceeded that run total in the top of the first inning. After Bella Carnes and Ansley Evans singled and Morgan Bailey walked, Jordan Duck and Caroline Higdon drove home a run each with singles. An error scored another and Morgan Cooper's single drove home two more to take a 5-0 lead before Kell even took an at bat.
Woodland had other opportunities to score, putting runners in scoring position in each of the final three frames, including a runner on third in each of the sixth and seventh.
An error and consecutive singles by Carnes and Bailey in the sixth inning with two outs left the bases loaded when Evans' liner was snagged for the third out. Then, in the seventh, an error and a single by Kendyl Hardin brought up Higdon, who singled, but Duck was thrown out at the plate. A groundout the next at bat ended the threat.
The lost opportunities in the latter three innings for the Wildcats nearly came back to cost them. Kell (3-1, 3-1) scored two runs in the second inning and another in the sixth by stringing singles together. An error cost Woodland another run to Kell in the seventh.
However, senior pitcher Sarah Baynard was able to get out of a bases-loaded, seventh-inning jam by inducing a groundout and getting the lead runner at the plate on a fielder's choice. Baynard then struck out the next batter to end the game.
Baynard pitched the entire game, allowing three earned runs with five strikeouts for the win.
Carnes, Duck and Higdon all had two hits, including a double by Duck. Evans had three hits.
Woodland will return home and stay in region play Thursday with an intracounty rivalry game against Cass.
Haralson County 3, Adairsville 2
Adairsville's Victoria O'Neal hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning, but she allowed an unearned run to score in the bottom of the seventh in another tough Region 6-AAA loss.
The 3-2 road defeat to Haralson County is the fifth in six game for the Tigers (2-7, 1-5) in region play, despite several hard-fought, close calls.
O'Neal led the Adairsville offense, finishing 2-for-3 with the run and two RBI off the homer. Havyn Isaac, Alexa Varner, Sierra Tanner and Cortni Jacobs had a hit apiece.
Taylor Rhoades started in the circle for the Tigers. She went two innings, giving up a pair of runs on five hits. O'Neal tossed the final four-plus frames, allowing four hits and a walk against three strikeouts.
Adairsville will look for its luck to change Thursday when Murray County enters Tiger Valley.