The Bartow County Little League softball 10U team came within one game of reaching the championship of the Southeast Regional Little League Tournament of State Champions, but a 7-1 loss to Winfield, West Virginia, Sunday brought the locals' postseason run to a close.
Winfield went on to win the title game in Clarksville, Tennessee, with a 14-4 victory over Bridgewater Community, Virginia. The West Virginia team reached the finals by sweeping all three opponents in the same pool with Bartow County to complete the regional with a 4-0 record.
Bartow finished 2-1 in the tourney with nearly identical 13-0 wins over Irmo, South Carolina, and Montgomery Central, Tennessee, on Saturday. Haley Collum and Kamryn Smith tossed respective no-hitters in the run-rule victories.
Winfield and Bartow battled scoreless into the third inning when West Virginia took a 4-0 lead. Winfield added three more runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-0 advantage before Bartow scored its only run in the sixth.
Collum and Smith split the pitching duties and combined for 10 strikeouts. Collum allowed a hit and four walks. Smith yielded three hits and a pair of walks.
Brie Patterson, Lakiaya Banks, Harley Hannah and Carley Aspenwall had one hit each for Bartow. Patterson scored Bartow’s run and stole one base. Savannah Viktora contributed an RBI. Collum reached base on a walk and stole one base.
Bartow won the Georgia Little League state title with a 5-1 mark, rattling off five consecutive elimination-game wins, to complete the postseason with a 7-2 overall record.
On the tournament's opening day, Bartow shut out both opponents behind excellent pitching displays.
In the first of three pool-play games, Bartow blanked Irmo Little League as Collum fanned 12 of the 13 batters she faced in a game that was shortened to only four innings due to mercy rule. Collum narrowly missed a perfect game, walking a batter in the second inning.
Playing as the home team, Bartow posted seven runs in the first inning, one in the second and five more in the third inning.
Elizabeth Hartsfield paced Bartow at the plate. She was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Patterson finished with a hit, two walks, one RBI and scored two runs. Banks and Collum both contributed a hit, walk and two runs each. Smith scored two runs. Hannah, Alivia Joslin and Harlee Thomason also scored one run apiece.
Later in the day, Smith hurled a four-inning, no-hitter in Bartow’s second 13-0 triumph. Smith faced a dozen batters and fanned eight. She retired two batters on groundouts and issued a pair of walks.
Bartow, playing as the home team, raced to a 10-0 lead in the first inning, added two runs in the second and one more in the third inning.
Collum led Bartow with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate that included a double, three RBI and three runs scored. Joslin and Hartsfield both finished 2-for-2. Joslin had a double, RBI and scored a run. Hartsfield drove in a pair of runs, scored a run and walked once.
Kyndell Hembree contributed a hit, walk and two runs. Patterson added a double, two RBI and scored a run. Smith also had a hit, stole a base and scored twice.
Banks walked twice and scored two runs. Viktora also scored a run.
— Charles Wilson of Bartow Sports Zone contributed to this report.