ALBANY — As far as Albany city softball went this season, Dougherty stole most of the headlines.
But Wednesday, it was Albany’s turn.
The Squaws, who went 0-7 in Region 1-AAAA while the Lady Trojans reeled off 10 wins in a row at one point and seemed destined for their second straight trip to state, upset Dougherty on Wednesday, 10-7, to advance to the Class AAAA state tournament for the first time since the school switched to fast-pitch 11 years ago.
“I’m so proud of the girls,” said sixth-year coach Candenisa Thomas, whose team only won four games during the regular season — but won the one that counted most Wednesday. “I told them before the region tournament that this was a whole new season. It was do-or-die, and I guess they didn’t want the season to be over.”
Dougherty, meanwhile, saw its amazing regular-season run come to an abrupt end as Albany (5-13) snagged the fourth and final seed out of 1-AAAA, while the Lady Trojans (12-7) head home one year after they reached state for the first time.
“Albany just wanted it more,” Dougherty coach Ty Hayes said. “Little mistakes cost us, and Albany just wanted it more. That’s what it comes down to.”
Albany was led by Ja’quira Glass with five hits, followed by Brianna Williams and NaKerida Gervin (three hits each), while Brianna Washington earned the win by striking out five.
Albany now joins Crisp County, Cairo and Worth County — all of which will finish the tourney today to decided seeds Nos. 1-3.
GHSA Region 1-AAAAA
LEESBURG — Lee County’s Lady Trojans qualified for the Class AAAAA state tournament Wednesday with a 3-0 win against Bainbridge and a come-from-behind 6-3 win against Northside Columbus.
The Lady Trojans (17-13) play Harris County today at 4 p.m. at Kinchafoonee Park, and if they win they must beat Thomas County Central twice later today to win the Region 1-AAAA title. But Lee can finish no worse than the No. 3 seed.
Erin Callaway started both games and pitched a seven-hit shutout against Bainbridge. Lauren Davis had an RBI single against Bainbridge and Callaway went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI in the Bainbridge win, and then pitched the first three innings against Northside.
Danielle Davis won the Northside game in relief, pitching four scoreless innings as Lee came back from a 3-0 deficit with four runs in the fourth and two in the sixth. Davis led off the fourth with a single and Lee got RBI singles from Paiton Cromer, Ashley Nichols and a two-run double from Caitlyn Lawton, who also drove in a run in the sixth. Ashley Morris also had an RBI single in the sixth.
GISA Region 3-AA
CORDELE — The Randolph Southern softball team clinched the region title Wednesday by beating Crisp Academy in a one-game playoff after the Lady Wildcats won Game 1, 1-0, despite 14 strikeouts from Lady Pats Madison Ragan.
Ragan, however, came back in the second game and blew Crisp off the field with 13 strikeouts and allowing two hits to win, 7-1. Ragan also hit her team-high seventh home run of the year and finished 2-for-3 with four RBI. Braylie Blanton was a perfect 4-for-4 for Randolph (15-3), while Morgan Lumpkin hit a triple and had an RBI and Alana McCook was 2-for-3 with a triple.
The Lady Patriots will now host Bethlehem Christian on Monday in the first round of state.
Hoyte, other Rams earn conference honors
ATLANTA — Albany State running back Nathan Hoyte, the Offensive MVP from last Saturday’s 16th annual Chicago Football Classic, was named one of the conference’s Players of the Week on Wednesday.
Hoyte, a senior from Waldorf, Md., scored ASU’s first points of the Rams’ 17-14 win on an 8-yard rush. He finished with 95 yards on 28 carries, with a long rush of 12 yards. He averaged 3.4 yards per rush.
Hoyte, however, wasn’t the only player honored by the conference following the Rams’ victory.
Victor Moli, a sophomore offensive lineman from Augusta, S.C., was a key anchor of the ASU “Gold Rush” offensive line that helped produce 322 yards of total offense, including 172 rushing yards, against KSU. Moli graded out at 91 percent.
On defense, Tavarius Washington, a freshman linebacker from Waynesboro, led the ASU “Dirty Blue” defense with 8 tackles, including 4 solo tackles.
On special teams, Dillan Fontaine, a freshman kicker from Deltona, Fla., kicked a 37-yard field goal and was 2-for-2 on PATs to score five points for the Rams in their victory. He also recorded 218 yards on four kicks, an average of 54.4 yards per kick.
ASU returns to action this weekend against Lane College in Macon. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.