Title tilt down to the wire

Title tilt down to the wire
BY NICK SIMON
THE TIMES-GEORGIAN

The Region 7-AAAAA Tournament crown will come down to one game.

The No. 7 Carrollton High School softball team split its championship series doubleheader with Woodland, Cartersville on Tuesday, taking the first game with an 8-2 win before dropping the second in a 9-7 decision.

That sets up an all-important series-deciding Game 3 at CHS this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. as the Lady Trojans will try to clinch their fifth straight region title.

Scout Jennings got the party started for the Carrollton bats in Game 1 with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first. She'd touch home two batters later off an Olivia Fannin RBI single for the game's first run.

The Lady Trojan lineup continued teeing off on Lady Wildcat starter Sarah Baynard with Cassadi Walker, Kate Albertus, Allie Threadgill and Kylee Robertson all scoring to build the early Carrollton advantage to 5-0.

CHS (22-4) gradually added onto its lead throughout the rest of the contest with Carlie Monsour tacking on an RBI single in the fourth and Maddie Mashburn mashing a two-run base knock to left in the bottom of the fifth.

Meanwhile in the circle, the junior hurler Fannin cruised, striking out eight and only yielding two runs as she picked up the 'W.'

The Game 1 win also marked career victory No. 500 for Carrollton head coach Lisa Phillips.

Returning as the Lady Trojan starter in Game 2, Fannin immediately helped her own cause by blasting a two-run home run to left in the top of the first. Woodland would get one back in the bottom half with an Ansley Evans RBI double.

With the bases loaded in the top of the second, the Lady Trojans started establishing separation with respective RBI from Jennings and Monsour and a two-run double to center by Fannin to go up 6-1.

Woodland (21-7, 15-3) would come roaring right back.

Loading the bases with no outs, leadoff batter Bella Carnes drew a walk to put another run on the board for the Lady Cats.

A few batters later, a Caroline Higdon two-out liner to left plated all three runners on base to make the game 6-5.

With Fannin deep into her second start of the evening, the visitors grabbed complete control of Game 2 in the bottom of the fifth.

Jordan Duck, Skylar Chappell, Carnes and Morgan Bailey all drove in respective runs to give Woodland a 9-6 advantage, their first lead of the afternoon.

The Lady Trojans managed to push one more across in the top of the sixth with an RBI single from Montana Dallas, but WHS starter Madi Bentley shut the door on a potential rally in the top of the seventh to force a Game 3.

"We made a few mistakes and they capitalized on them, which is what a good team does. Hats off to them," Phillips said. "Even in those last two innings, we had opportunities to score, but they made good plays. Again, hats off to their defense and what they did to keep themselves in the ballgame. We came out and scored some runs, but we just have to figure out how to keep them off the bases and keep them from scoring."

Now the battle for region supremacy will be decided by one game and Phillips is looking forward to the challenge.

"We have a chance to respond. Obviously, we're disappointed in not winning it (Tuesday). But at the same time, there's still that opportunity to win," Phillips said. "We're going to be Trojans and do what we do and if they're good enough to beat us, then that's going to happen. But we're going to come out, give it our best effort and continue to play hard. Hopefully, we can capitalize on a few opportunities that we didn't get (Tuesday)."