Both the Carrollton and Villa Rica high school softball teams got exemplary, complete-game performances from their starters in the circle during Thursday’s Region 7-AAAAA rivalry tilt in the City of Gold.
But one big inning at the plate made all the difference for the visitors as the Lady Trojans walked away with a 4-1 early-season victory. The two teams will meet again at CHS on Sept. 13.
Following a pair of scoreless frames by both ballclubs to begin the league contest, Carrolton (5-1, 2-0 Region 7-AAAAA) got the scoring started for the evening in the top of the third.
With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore Kate Albertus drew a walk off Villa Rica starter Kali Barbour, bringing home Kylee Robertson for Carrollton’s first run of the game. After a Scout Jennings RBI single during the next at-bat, Montana Dallas knocked home two with a base hit of her own to put the Lady Trojans up, 4-0.
The Lady Wildcats (2-3, 1-2) would get one back off Carrollton hurler Olivia Fannin in the bottom half of the inning as a Kayla Hurley grounder brought home the senior Barbour for their first score of the game.
From there, both Barbour and Fannin took back control of the contest, cruising through the lineups of their respective opponents for the rest of the ballgame.
VR would manage to get at least one runner on base in each of the final three innings, but couldn’t quite crack the Black and Gold hurler as it dropped a second straight region contest.
“Both girls in the circle did their job. They kept it close,” VR head coach Cody Skinner. “We kind of got a rocky start in the third. They had a girl reach by a catcher’s interference and were able to get her moved over on a good swing. We had a walk and they were able to get a couple of good hits back-to-back.”
Carrollton head coach Lisa Phillips assessed her squad’s victory on Thursday as a model of doing the little things right.
“We were able to get some people on, got some people in and held on.” Phillips said. “Olivia made some big pitches when she had to. She got in trouble with a couple of batters, but made pitches when she needed them and kept them off-stride a little bit, so that helped.”
The Lady Trojans are sitting pretty one week into the regular season, already having two region wins under their belt. Phillips acknowledged that her ballclub still has a long way to go before it truly starts clicking.
“It’s a different team than last year, but they’re working hard. We have some things that we can continue to improve on and the girls are receptive to improving those things. As long as you can grind out wins, you can’t be too mad at them. But we do have things we need to get better at,” Phillips said. “We just take it one game at a time and sometimes inning to inning. We’ve got a really young group with three sophomores in the lineup that didn’t start last year, so we’re getting them acclimated at this level.”
Through one week of action on their end, Skinner is getting what he needs in the circle from his senior ace. It’s just a matter of the bats catching up.
“Our pitcher (Barbour) is doing really good. She’s coming into the zone where we need her to come in the zone and she’s starting to find it the circle. We just need to find it at the plate,” Skinner said. “We had a few hits (Thursday) and only had a few hits against East Paulding. We got to find some kind of rhythm at the plate.”
The Lady Wildcats will have a jam-packed schedule next week, playing four games in four days with three being on the road.
Meanwhile, Carrollton will a pair of region matchups to look forward to next week.
“We have Hiram and then we go to East Paulding,” Phillips said. “East Paulding has been the hot team in the region, so they’re off to a great start."