The Cartersville softball team kept up its winning start to the season, although a late rally by Darlington certainly gave the Canes a scare.
After jumping out to a 7-1 lead after two innings, Cartersville needed a double play, including throwing out a runner at home, to escape a seventh-inning threat to preserve a 7-5 victory.
Now 2-0 on the young season, the Canes quickly bounced back from allowing a run in the top of the first with three in the home half and four in the second.
A walk and consecutive singles loaded the bases with one out. Following a fielder's choice, Presley Edwards was hit by a pitch to force home Piper Brigman. The big hit in the inning came off the bat of Rylie Harris, who drove home a pair of runs with a single.
Cartersville took advantage of defensive miscues to tack on to its lead in the second inning. An error allowed two runs to score and give the Canes a 5-1 edge.
Colbi Ballard later added what proved to be a key two-run homer to drive home Cio Seigler.
Darlington (1-2) trimmed the deficit to 7-2 with a single run in the fifth inning.
The Tigers attempted a furious comeback in the seventh, but it came up just short.
Darlington had the bags full with nobody out. Back-to-back singles brought in a run apiece with another crossing due to an error.
At that point, Cartersville brought in Ballard to replace Anna Kate McElhaney. Ballard, who pitched a complete game in the season-opener, struck out the first hitter she faced.
The game ended when Darlington flew out to center fielder Mattie Johnson, and she subsequently threw to catcher Lauren McElhaney. The latter tagged out a runner at the plate to send the Canes home victorious.
Ballard paced the offense with a 3-for-3 performance. The senior added two runs scored and two RBI in the win. Seigler and Pittman each walked twice and scored a run.
Anna Kate McElhaney, who went 2-for-4 at the plate, allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits and eight walks with five strikeouts. Ballard needed just seven pitches to wiggle out of trouble and close out the game.
Cartersville will look to move to 2-0 in Region 5-AAAA play when the team travels to Central Carroll for a 5:30 p.m. game Tuesday.