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PREP SOFTBALL ROUNDUP: Worth softball's four-headed monster delivers region title; Lee settles for No. 3 state seed

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

SYLVESTER -- They don't have a nickname, not really.

During the Region 1-AAA title game on Thursday the fans from Crisp County started calling them "The Four Horseman," a reference to Notre Dame's glory days, and one Crisp fan added: "I just call them Murderer's Row.''

Indeed, that's perfect for Worth County's quartet of Kimmy Lee, Lauren Potts and Heather and Haley Ellis.

The latter two are a pair of power-hitting twins, who have turned Worth into a state softball power.

How about Fab Four? Quad Squad? The Worth Force-some?

Worth County coach Russell Beard didn't even have a nickname for them.

"I guess they're just the Four-headed Monster,'' Beard said.

That works.

The kids like it, so maybe it will stick.

They've been sticking together since sixth grade and they were there again Thursday afternoon, leading Worth to a 9-1 victory in five innings against Crisp County in the Region 1-AAA tournament championship game -- a win that sends Worth to the state tournament as a No. 1 seed. The Lady Rams (26-2) will be at home next week for the first round of the playoffs.

"We've got eight more games to win,'' said Heather, who knows just what it will take to win a state title.

"We're going all the way,'' added Lee, who is as confident as she is fast -- a speedster and leadoff hitter who doesn't just set the table, but runs it. She stole home in the semifinals Wednesday and added two stolen bases Thursday.

"We have the confidence in each other," said Lee, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and scored three times.

But the day belonged to Potts, who shut down Crisp on the mound and then took Lady Cougars pitcher Cassidy Jolly deep at the plate. Potts also tossed a three-hitter without allowing an earned run while driving in three runs in the five-inning game. She struck out six along the way, then struck even harder in the second inning with a two-run shot that cleared the pickup trucks parked beyond the left field wall.

She was all smiles afterward.

"I don't know how many strikeouts I had,'' said Potts, who wasn't sure if she was 8-1 or 9-1 on the mound this season. She knew exactly how many homers she had hit, however.

"Two,'' she said.

All four of them hit the long ball, especially the twins. Heather has six homers this season and Haley has belted 11, including a towering two-run homer to center that helped ignite Worth's six-run second inning.

Haley might have hit for the cycle, but she batted only three times. She singled in the first, homered in the second and doubled in the fourth to finish the day with a 3-for-3 afternoon and four RBI. She also picked off a runner at third base from behind the plate, where runs the show for Worth.

Heather doubled and singled and had another Gold Glove day at shortstop, where she seems to take away everything hit on the left side.

Beard's Four-Headed Monster went 8-for-8 at the plate over the first two innings as Worth built an 8-0 lead. They finished the day going 9-for-10 with seven RBI and scored seven runs.

They're only juniors, but they have been winning since they were 11 years old. They had won titles every year until Worth finished second in the region a year ago.

"We got our streak going again,'' Heather said, before her sister finished her sentence, adding: "We wanted to go from sixth grade through 12th grade and win every year.''

They won the region title as freshmen, and then finished second before falling in the first round of the state playoffs last year. But they look good enough to make a run at the state crown this time around.

"We're a lot better than when we won the region in '08,'' Beard said. "We're better defensively and the kids are stronger. You take a freshman-led team (in '08), and now they're juniors. It makes a big difference how much they have grown.''

But no one is surprised.

"We knew they were this good when they were in sixth grade,'' Beard said. "They have made a big difference in softball here. We were an average team, but they have made this program what it is today. And they're great kids, great in the classroom and just real good kids. They don't need a nickname."