JEFFERSON - The Region 8-AA tournament opener was just the second varsity game for Peyton Sorrells, but the Jackson County freshman delivered when it mattered most, coming into the game in the bottom of the ninth to get the game-winning RBI as the No. 2 seed Lady Panthers knocked off East Hall 3-2 Monday.
Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth with the international runner rule in effect, sophomore Kortnee Satterfield laid down what would have been a sacrifice bunt, but the ball was mishandled by the East Hall third baseman allowing both runners to reach base. It was the first defensive error by either team.
Sorrells then hit a line drive through the gap to bring in Ashleigh Lance for the winning run for the Lady Panthers (24-6).
Jackson County coach Chessie Laird said that it was decided to sub-in Sorrells for senior Macey Latty in the ninth due to the situation.
"We really depend on Macey to bunt or slap hit for us," Laird said. "But at that point in time with Lance on third we didn't want to bring the infield in, we wanted to keep them out deep and Peyton has been hitting really well during the (junior varsity) season so we felt like she could be the one to get the hit we needed there."
Before the late-inning heroics, the game was a pitchers duel, with seniors Harlee Grogan and Haley Shinall combining for 19 strikeouts.
Jackson County scored on a single by junior Madison Whitmire in the first, but Grogan cruised through the Jackson County lineup from there, sitting down 18 of the next 23 hitters through regulation, including 12 on strikeouts.
While not recording as many strikeouts, Shinall had an equally impressive day, pitching 7 2/3 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits.
She was pulled in the eighth after a sacrifice bunt and fielder's choice hit from senior Holly Strickland brought in the international runner to make East Hall's lead 2-1.
Satterfield came in to relieve Shinall and get out of the inning. Whitmire then tied the game at two in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI triple.
Satterfield stayed in on the mound in the top of the ninth and retired the side in order to allow for her bunt and Sorrells' game-winning hit in the bottom half of the inning.
"My girls really came to play and got in a groove like we have all season, but we just couldn't score," East Hall coach Jenny Crow said. "Going 0-2 the last two years in the region tournament, I felt our girls really turned it up a notch today, so it was a tough break."
Jackson County will face the winner of Union County and East Jackson at 4 p.m. Tuesday. East Hall (14-15-1) will face elimination as they take on the loser of Union County and East Jackson at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Both games will be played at Jackson County.