One swing of the bat by Meghan Cantrell was enough to overhaul West Hall’s late one-run lead Thursday night at the Lanier Point Softball Complex.
Lumpkin County’s sophomore hit a fly ball that crept over the left field fence and gave the Lady Indians a 9-8 win against the Lady Spartans in the Region 7-AAA tournament.
"All I was doing was just trying to hit a line drive up the middle of the field," Cantrell said with a smile. "It just feels great to provide the game winning hit."
With the win, Lumpkin County (16-13-1) advances to play the winner of the 2 p.m. West Hall/White County game. The winner of the West Hall/White County game earns the right to play Lumpkin County for the region championship.
Fifth-seeded Lumpkin County has the advantage of playing out of the winners bracket and has the buffer of having to only win one of two games, if needed, against the Lady Warriors/Lady Spartans.
"The girls are coming together and peaking at the right time," Lumpkin County coach Lori Hall said. "I am just really proud of them and we are all looking forward to (today’s) game."
One reason for Lumpkin County’s successful tournament run is its ability to put runs on the scoreboard. The Lady Indians are averaging 10 points per game in the Region 7-AAA tournament. Against West Hall (19-11), the Lady Indians hit safely from every spot in the order.
Lumpkin County trailed 7-6 in the top of the seventh. However, the Lady Indians didn’t take long to take advantage of their final at bat. Kelsie Smith connected on a lead off double, followed by Frankie Walls’ single to put runners on the corner still with no outs.
Walls led Lumpkin County with a 4-for-4 night and an RBI single in the fourth inning. Ashley Thompson went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the fifth inning for the Lady Indians. Smith had two hits and two RBIs for Lumpkin County.
"You’ve got to tip your cap to Lumpkin County," West Hall coach Warren Sellers said. "Both teams hit the ball well, but we just came up short. I’m just real proud of my team for not giving up."
Lumpkin County relief pitcher Bridget Savage stopped a late-game West Hall rally to get the Lady Spartans last batter out on strikes. The Lady Spartans got runners on base from Emily Harper’s walk and Madison Strickland’s RBI double to start the inning.
West Hall left seven runners on base during the game.
"My teammates played some great defense tonight," Hammond said. "It was a tough loss, but we have to be mentally ready for (today’s) game with White County."
West Hall shortstop Bailey Soucie finished 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and a stolen base.
White County 4 Pickens 1
Fourth-seeded White County (20-9-1), which defeated North Hall 3-1 in its first game, and advances to play West Hall today.
With their wins, White County and No. 2 seed Pickens both receive automatic bids into the Class AAA North Sectionals.
Pickens upset Region 7-AAA’s top-ranked Gilmer, 7-6, but failed to defeat White County.
Gilmer’s season concluded with a final record of 15-16, while North Hall’s season ends with a final record of 16-14-2.