ALBANY — One was the magic number, and Darton took care of it early Friday,
The Lady Cavs, the No. 1 team in Region XVII, thwarted the efforts of No. 2 Georgia Perimeter to unseed them from that spot in the final regular-season game of the year Friday as the region tournament approaches next week.
Darton (42-5 overall), ranked No. 16 nationally, won Game 1, 3-2 — locking up the region’s top seed — then rested its starters and lost Game 2, 7-2.
The win in the opener clinched the regular-season conference championship for the fourth time in five years under David Dews, including two in a row.
“After we won the first game to clinch the conference I was just thinking about trying not to get anybody hurt and resting some of the kids who are banged up,” Dews said.
Jenny Willis started in Game 1, going four innings, allowing three hits and striking out two. Katy Jordan then came on and struck out three over the next three innings to close it out and pick up the win.
Erica Vasquez was 2-for-3 with two RBI in Game 1, while Jessica Vason only had one hit — but it was a big one. She singled in what proved to be the game-winning run in the fifth inning to score Chelsea Showers, who led off with a double. Showers finished 2-for-3.
In Game 2, Willis threw a complete game, but took the loss as Vasquez finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and Showers had an RBI.
ASU OUT OF CONFERENCE TOURNEY: The Albany State softball team saw its hopes at the postseason dashed Friday when it failed to win all three games it needed to advance through the losers’ bracket of the conference tournament.
ASU, which came in as the East Division’s No. 1 seed, was stunned by Fort Valley on Thursday, 8-7, but beat Clark Atlanta on Friday morning, 12-4, behind a Vanessa Jones home run and dominant pitching performance by Chelsea Hicks to stay alive.
But Friday’s second game ended with a 10-1 loss to Miles. That means the NCAA Division II playoffs is out for ASU (26-26 overall), which closes out its regular season April 28 in Orlando against Rollins College.
Shay Marks took the loss in Game 2 as the Lady Rams walked six batters.
ALBANY — Darton split with Gordon on Friday, suffering a gut-wrenching loss in the opener, 3-2, when Cavs reliever Michael Aker walked in the winning run.
Tyler Oglesby started the game and went 6 2/3 inning with two strikeouts, but he walked eight batters. Russell Melton was 1-for-3 with an RBI, Alonso Bryant had an RBI and Tripp Calhoun was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Darton won Game 2, 1-0, as A.J. Sunstrom picked up the win in a three-hitter. Melton scored the game-winning run in the sixth and finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Patrick Nix delivered a huge two-out RBI and Andrew Crumbley picked up the save.
The win puts Darton, ranked No. 20 nationally, at 34-12 overall and 19-4 in Region XVII.
Darton closes out the series with Gordon today at 1 p.m.