GAINESVILLE — One bad day isn’t going to diminish a season of accomplishments for the Lumpkin County High softball team.
The Lady Indians (17-15-1) won their first Region 7-AAA championship in fast-pitch softball this season and made the program’s third appearance in the Class AAA North Sectionals this weekend at the Lanier Point Softball Complex.
After winning their first game on Friday night against Chamblee, the Lady Indians moved within one game of the state tournament in Columbus.
But that’s when Lumpkin County ran out of magic.
Lumpkin County lost twice Saturday, first to No. 3-ranked Blessed Trinity, 2-0, in the winners’ bracket and then to No. 6-ranked Apalachee, 6-3, in the losers’ bracket with the last chance this season for the school’s first trip to Columbus on the line.
"Our girls came together this season and had six straight great wins to get to this point," Lumpkin County coach Lori Hall said. "They never gave up and I’m proud of what they accomplished this season."
Despite graduating six seniors from this season’s team, the Lady Indians’ coach is very optimistic about next season with a core group returning and a strong upcoming junior class.
"I feel confident we’ll be able to make it back to the sectionals next season if not further," Hall added.
Against the Wildcats, the Lady Indians fell victim to too many fielding errors and not enough offensive production. Apalachee (26-8) took advantage of those mistakes, taking extra bases on throwing errors.
Despite the Lady Indians numerous mistakes, they kept fighting.
Trailing 6-0, Lumpkin County attempted to pull out of a deep hole in the bottom of the fifth inning. Laura Webber started the inning with a double and Kelsie Smith followed with a single to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Frankie Walls drove Webber in to score on a fielders choice. That’s when the Lady Indians’ rally ended. With two runners in scoring position, Lumpkin County’s next hitter grounded into a double play with the lead runner getting tagged out at the plate.
Lumpkin County followed in the sixth inning with another rally behind hits from Jade Butler, Emily Gaddis, Chelsey Edelberg and an RBI from Morgan Chapman to narrow Apalachee’s lead to 6-3.
"Maybe another hit here or there and the scoreboard would have been in our favor," Hall said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win."
Meanwhile, Apalachee’s early cushion was plenty to keep its lead in tact. The Lady Wildcats struck for five runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Hayley Adkins single loaded the bases. Then Apalachee’s lead off single Mendy Henson ripped a two RBI double. Kimmie Bunten followed with an RBI single.
Bunten also had a solo home run for the Wildcats in the first inning. She finished the game 2-for-2.
Apalachee qualified for the state tournament after winning games against West Hall, Cass and Lumpkin County on Saturday. The Lady Wildcats played out of the loser’s bracket after dropping Friday night’s game to Sandy Creek.
Blessed Trinity and No. 1 ranked Oconee County (32-3) also qualified for state from the North Sectionals.
Blessed Trinity 2
Lumpkin County 0
The Lady Indians lost their first game in postseason play to the Titans on Saturday at Lanier Point Softball Complex.
Trailing 2-0, Lumpkin County mounted a rally attempt putting two runners on base in the top of the seventh. Morgan Chapman got things going with a one-out single. Then with two outs, Laura Webber connected on a single to bring the go-ahead run to the plate.
But the rally attempt proved short-lived. The Lady Indians’ final batter flew out to end the game.
Lumpkin County’s Bridget Savage pitched well allowing only three hits and only allowed one walk. She finished the game with two strikeouts in the pitching circle.
Chapman finished the game with two hits for Lumpkin County. Ashley Thompson also added a hit for the Lady Indians.
Blessed Trinity (28-4-2) scored a pair in the fifth inning on the back of a two-out, 2 RBI single from lead off hitter Moria Sullivan to score Christine Gorski and Sammy Lipionki.
Gorski got on base to start the inning on an infield ground ball and reached second on a throwing error.
Apalachee 10, West Hall 0
The Spartans season ended in the loser’s bracket of the North Sectionals on Saturday.