WINDER — Rebecca Meade pitched a four-hitter, while Savannah Clark and Mikayla Carlyle combined for five runs batted in Tuesday as the Apalachee softball team defeated Flowery Branch 11-1 in five innings in the Region 8-AAAAA semifinals at the Lady Wildcats’ field.
The victory gave the Lady Cats a 2-1 edge in the best-of-three series and assured them of playing in the region championship game on Thursday. Flowery Branch will play in the region consolation game on Thursday.
Flowery Branch, which already qualified for the state tournament for the first time in school history, will be on the road in the first round of the state playoffs regardless of the outcome of Thursday's games.
Unlike Monday’s two games, Apalachee was sharp in nearly all phases of Tuesday’s contest, scoring seven runs in the first two innings.
“We came to play today,” Apalachee coach Matt Allen said after the game. “We had some good at-bats, played good defense and Becca was pitching well, so I can’t ask for much more.”
Meade allowed only one earned run and four hits in her five innings of work. She struck out three and walked only one.
Apalachee won Monday’s first game 12-8 but dropped the second game 6-5 in eight innings when the Lady Cats were the designated visiting team.
That set up Tuesday’s deciding game, which was hardly ever in doubt after the first couple of innings.
Flowery Branch’s only run came with the help of a pair of illegal pitches called on Meade, allowing Kelly Kahlert to score.
Kahlert had drawn Meade’s only walk of the game and taken second on a sacrifice bunt. The two illegal pitches allowed Kahlert to take third and then come home.
Flowery Branch was hurt by the absence of catcher Shelby Griffin, who did not play Tuesday due to a shoulder injury.
Griffin caught both games Monday and was one of the Lady Falcons’ leading hitters.
Apalachee, which lost the coin flip and was again the “visiting” team on Tuesday, scored two runs in the first.
Holly Janco led off the game with a walk, stole second, took third on Hannah Medlam’s infield hit and scored on a passed ball.
Allison Cole later drove in Medlam with the second run of the inning.
The Lady Cats added five more runs in the second inning.
After walks to Celena Wilson and Logan Leverette and an infield hit by Briana Bryson loaded the bases, Janco and Mia Giddens walked to drive in runs before Medlam, Savannah Clark and Carlyle drove in runs with grounders.
Leverette drove in another run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fourth, and the Lady Cats added three more in the fifth to invoke the mercy rule.
Savannah Clark drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single up the middle and Carlyle followed with another sacrifice fly.