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Darton softball rolls in first round

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

LOCUST GROVE -- Even with a state championship on the line, the Lady Cavaliers just keep on winning.

Ranked No. 20 in the nation, the Darton softball team advanced to the semifinals of the Region XVII Tournament with a 12-3 win in five innings over Waycross on Friday at Locust Grove.

The victory, which upped top-seeded Darton's school-record win total to 45, sets up a 2 p.m. matchup today with Georgia Perimeter. The winner of that game is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's state

championship, where a berth in the NCJAA College World Series is on the line.

Katy Lewis threw all five innings for the Lady Cavs, tallying eight strikeouts and allowing just five hits. The freshman, who entered the game with the third-best ERA in the nation at 0.71, found a way to win even without her best stuff.

"She threw good enough to get the win, but they put some balls in play early on us," Darton coach David Dews said. "It was a gutsy performance. She just kept going out there."

Waycross took an early advantage after scoring one run in the top of the first, but a three-run double by Lady Cav freshman Brooke Tomlin in the bottom of the first gave Darton a lead it would never relinquish.

The Lady Cavs put the exclamation on their victory with a nine-run fourth inning where Amanda Jaskolski and 2009 Lee County grad Brittny Dennison each had home runs.

"We swung the bats really well all day," Dews said. "Even the outs we made were hit hard. And it kind of all fell into place in that fourth inning."

Darton and Georgia Perimeter split a pair of games on April 21. Host Georgia Perimeter won the first game, 2-0, while Darton evened the regular-season series with a 2-1 victory.

"We are two pretty evenly matched teams," Dews said about his squad and Georgia Perimeter, which received votes in the latest national poll. "Perimeter is a pretty good ball club and has been in top 20 pretty much all year. It should be a good game."