DAHLONEGA - Lumpkin County softball coach Jason Osborn knows it isn't going to be an easy road in the Region 8-AAA tournament in attempting to claim one of the four berths in the state tournament.
Three of the state's top 10 in Class AAA, including No. 1 Oconee County (28-2), No. 2 Walnut Grove (27-2) and No. 8 Franklin County (18-10-1) are all in the same tournament field and had a first-round tournament bye Monday.
However, the No. 6 seed Lady Indians got off to a good start in the region tournament with a 13-1 win in only four innings against West Hall in Dahlonega to keep their season alive.
With the win, Lumpkin County advances to face third seed Franklin County in the next round for games at 5 and 7 p.m. Wednesday in Carnesville.
The Lady Lions won the regular season match-up between these two schools 3-2 in extra innings with the international tiebreaker on Sept. 20.
"I feel like we can do well in the region tournament, we just have to continue to make plays," said junior Morgan Wood, who had a two-run home run and scored two runs against West Hall.
But if Lumpkin County plays offensively like it did against West Hall, scoring runs may not be a big issue.
The Lady Indians sent 15 hitters to the plate in the third inning and took advantage of five West Hall errors to score 11 runs.
"That's one thing that we've been struggling with is putting the ball in play and that's the name of the game," Osborn said. "We did a good job of squaring up on the ball and were aggressive, which is nice to see."
For the night, eight Lumpkin County hitters had a hit, including a two-run single to the outfield by Whitney Brown in the third inning.
Jace Armstrong pitched a strong game for Lumpkin County, allowing only two hits and one walk.
In the third inning, Lumpkin County leadoff hitter Sara Abercrombie reached on an error and scored on a bases-loaded fly ball to the shallow part of right field that was misplayed by the West Hall outfielder.
Abercrombie added an RBI double in the fourth to end the game.
"Getting the leadoff hitter on base really opens up a lot of options," Osborn said.
Also in the third inning, Kelsey Jones drove a fly ball over the outfielder's head, scoring two more runs.
West Hall (12-13) earned the right to play Lumpkin County with a 7-3 win against Monroe Area earlier Monday afternoon. Marissa Bryner and Savannah Simpson each had one hit for West Hall.
The Lady Spartans' season is now complete.
WEST HALL 7, MONROE AREA 3: Ashley Neal had three hits and scored three runs for the Lady Spartans. Miranda Miller and Haley Haynes each had two hits and drove in a run for West Hall.