The Cartersville softball team missed out on a potentially massive two-game sweep of Region 5-AAAA rival Troup County Saturday on the road.
Instead, the Canes were forced to settle for a split after grabbing a 5-2 win and allowing two runs in the seventh inning of a heartbreaking 12-11 loss.
Cartersville (3-4, 2-2) got off to a perfect start to the day with a two-run top of the first inning in Saturday's opener. Hope Short was hit by a pitch to begin the game, and the senior scored on a sacrifice fly by Lauren McElhaney. McKinley Chada followed with an RBI single to plate Campbell Rogers.
It took until the fourth inning, but the Tigers (6-5, 2-2) finally answered back against Chada, who went the distance in the circle. Troup loaded the bases with one out before a two-run single knotted the score. However, McElhaney threw out a runner trying to steal third to stem the momentum.
Elizabeth Nelson opened the top of the fifth with a single. The freshman stole second base, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Rogers' sac fly.
Nelson again kicked off the seventh with a single, stole second and moved over on a sac bunt. Rogers tripled her home, and she later scored on McElhaney's single for a 5-2 cushion.
Troup brought the tying run to the plate in the home half of the inning, but Chada coaxed a groundout to close out the win.
Rogers and Nelson each finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Rogers and McElhaney, who went 1-for-3, both drove in a pair of runs. Chada struck out five, while scattering 10 hits and two walks.
While the Tigers ultimately got revenge in Game 2, it was the Canes who again struck early with two more runs in the opening frame. Rogers singled prior to a McElhaney double. Following a groundout, Anna Kate McElhaney drove in her sister with a single.
A four-run third inning allowed Troup to take its first lead of the day, but Cartersville, which was playing as the home team, got a run back in the bottom of the frame. Anna Kate McElhaney drove home Rogers this time after the freshman had started the inning with a double.
The fourth inning saw both teams score two runs. Troup extended its lead to 6-3 only to see Cartersville claw back within a run. For the Canes, Rogers' groundout brought in Kylie Arnold, who started the game in the circle, and Nelson crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
The Tigers looked to have possibly pulled away for good after scoring four runs in the fifth inning. However, the bottom of the sixth saw the Canes erupt for six runs.
Nelson scored the frame's first run on an error, and Short also reached home on a defensive miscue. A double by Lauren McElhaney drove in Rogers, and an Anna Kate McElhaney single brought home the elder McElhaney.
Cio Seigler singled in Emery Jenkins to tie the game. Rylie Harris followed with an RBI groundout to plate Anna Kate McElhaney to give the Canes the lead.
It proved to be a short-lived advantage. The Tigers connected on consecutive run-scoring singles with one out in the seventh inning to turn an 11-10 deficit into a 12-11 lead.
The Canes had a couple of baserunners in their final turn at bat but couldn't get the potential tying run into scoring position.
Nelson finished the game 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Anna Kate McElhaney went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Rogers, Chada and Lauren McElhaney each had two hits.
Arnold and Chada each gave up six runs, although only half of those were earned. They each struck out two.
Cartersville has region contests against Sandy Creek Tuesday at home and Thursday at Chapel Hill next on the schedule.
Adairsville drops pair in Dalton tourney
The Adairsville softball team couldn't carry over the momentum from its Region 6-AAA opener into Saturday's tournament action in Dalton.
That being said, the Tigers were right in both games. They were tied 3-3 after three innings in an eventual 12-3 defeat to Heritage, and the team led Cedartown almost throughout in a 4-2 setback.
Against Heritage, both teams scored one run in the second inning and two in the third before the Generals erupted for six runs in the fourth and put the game away with three more in the fifth.
The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the second without needing a hit. Alyssa Jarrett walks, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on Taylor Rhoades' sacrifice bunt and scored on another wild pitch.
Adairsville only managed three hits in the contest — all of which came in the third inning. Katie Smith and Kyleigh Linn opened the frame with knocks, and Victoria O'Neal came through with a two-out, two-run double.
Rhoades took the loss, despite striking out six against zero walks. While she did allow 11 hits over five innings, none of the dozen runs charged to her were earned, due to the Adairsville defense committing eight errors.
In the second game of the day, Sadye Johnson opened the scoring with a solo home run. It was the second first-inning blast of the week for the junior.
The Tigers doubled their lead with another tally in the second. Megan Gregory and Rhoades recorded singles, and Linn drove in the former on a groundout.
O'Neal threw a complete-game shutout in a 4-0 win over North Murray on Thursday to give Adairsville a winning start to region play. The junior looked set for another possible shutout until the Tigers defense fell apart in the fifth inning.
Following a pair of groundouts, Cedartown erupted for four runs. Two singles sandwiched around a passed ball led to the first tally; errors on consecutive balls put in play brought home the tying run; and a two-run double broke the deadlock.
Adairsville had a chance to answer back, putting two runners in scoring position with one out in the sixth, but a strikeout and flyout allowed the Bulldogs to escape.
Johnson and Rhoades both finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Gregory and Chloe Souders had the team's other hits, while Smith reached twice via walks.
O'Neal allowed no earned runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts. That solid performance came on the heels of Thursday's outing, when she gave up three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Also of note, the Tigers had zero errors in that victory over the Mountaineers.
Adairsville will return to region play with a Thursday road trip to Ringgold.