ALBANY — Dougherty softball coach Ty Hayes said he didn’t feel bad at all after his team lost its final regular season of the game Thursday, a tough 6-5 loss to Cairo in eight innings.
“I feel good about the way they played,’’ said Hayes, who watched his girls score twice in the bottom of the eighth before losing. “The girls showed a fight and a hunger I haven’t seen in a while. They didn’t give up. I’m not upset at all after the way they played.’’
Aquavia Lovett’s two-run single tied it up at 3-3, in the fourth and it stayed that way until Cairo brought home three runs in the top of the eighth, but Dougherty stormed back to make it interesting.
Quinnesha Gatling’s bunt single brought home Amber Ward to close the score to 6-4, and then Gatling stole second and third, and scored on Dominique Anderson’s ground-out to make it a 6-5 game.
Dougherty finishes the regular season with a 11-5 record and clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Region 1-AAAA tournament that begins Monday at No. 1 seed Crisp County.
“Third is the highest we have finished,’’ said Hayes, whose team needs to finish in the top four in the region tournament to reach the playoffs. “We play the No. 6 team on Monday at 4, and I feel good about the team going into the region tournament. We finished fourth and went to the playoffs last year, and even though we lost, I feel really good about the team.’’
Gatling, Lovett and Takiya Davis, who had a triple against Cairo, led the Lady Trojans.
TIFTAREA 8, SHERWOOD 1: The Lady Eagles (14-4) lost their first Region 3-AA game of the season Thursday as ace Anna Laine Brock had an off day, allowing eight hits and striking out only four.
Marylen Kennedy had Sherwood’s only extra-base hit with a triple on a day when the team only had four hits.
The win by Tiftarea now sets up a winner-take-all, one-game playoff next week to decide the No. 1 seed in the region. The time, date and location of that game have yet to be determined.
SGA 14, BROOKWOOD 0 (4): The Lady Warriors secured a No. 3 seed in the GISA state tournament with a four-inning victory against Brookwood on Thursday in Damascus.
Addison Ponder was the winning pitcher and allowed one hit in three innings of work. Ponder, who is 5-2 on the mound, struck out three, while Bella Cushings threw a perfect fourth inning to close out the victory.
Leaders at the plate for SGA were Allison Warren (3-for-3, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI), Kendyl Carver (2-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI), Baylee Everson (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) and Kelley Whitaker (2-for-3, 2B, RBI).
SGA will be Region 3-AAA’s No. 3 seed and will open the state tournament Oct. 8 with a three-game series at either Loganville Christian or Mount De Sales.
CRISP ACADEMY 4, WESTWOOD 2: The Lady Wildcats lost a heartbreaker Thursday when they squandered a 2-0 lead in the seventh innings and lost.
“It was the best six innings of ball we’ve played all year,” Westwood coach Robby Bowles said. “It’s a shame we let it get away.”
Claire Collins, who had been lights out before the final inning, took the loss after striking out two and allowing seven hits — most of which came in the 7th.
Sage Sandifer and Tatum Brown hit doubles, while Lindsey Bowles and Hannah Hinesley had Westwood’s only other hits.
Westwood is now 11-8 overall and 8-4 in region. The Lady Wildcats next face Deerfield in Albany on Tuesday.