ALBANY — You couldn’t have scripted a better start to the postseason for Jason Schultz and his Sherwood Lady Eagles.
With the defending champion Gatewood Lady Gators in town, Schultz’s young squad was more than up to the task, taking advantage of two Katelyn Cuff goals en route to a 3-0 victory in Tuesday’s first round of the GISA Class AA state playoffs.
“We’ve been working really hard on possessing the ball,” Schultz said. “We had the opportunity to do that (Tuesday). There’s a great pitch here at Darton. We just maintained possession, made them run around a lot and it worked out for us.”
The Lady Eagles drew first blood around the 12-minute mark in the first half when Cuff broke away from the Gatewood defense and launched a strike into the right corner of the net.
“I was really excited,” Cuff, a sophomore, said afterwards. “This was a really big game for us.”
With just more than 13 minutes left in the half, freshman Kylee Herrod got in on the act when Hannah King caught the inbounds pass on a corner kick and found Herrod in scoring position.
“It was a short corner kick to Hannah, she turned and played it to the inside,” Herrod said. “I just kicked it and hoped for the best.”
Along with their great offensive effort, the Lady Eagles’ defense stood tall once again, allowing the Lady Gators only four shots on goal. Though the Eagles’ offense stalled momentarily after their fast start, goalie Hannah Thompson made sure the visitors didn’t cut into the lead.
“This is the 18th shutout we’ve had this year,” Schultz said of his team, which is 19-4-1. “Our defense is solid. We’ve got a lot of speed on the back end, and they work well together.”
With both defenses dueling it out with just under three minutes left in the game, Cuff provided the cherry on top with another goal, running her season total to 24.
“Katelyn has been coming on strong at the end of the year,” Schultz said. “She’s really been picking it up. She’s right behind our leading scorer (Jordyn Paramore). When she gets the ball, she’s strong. It’s hard to get the ball off her. When she gets the opportunity, she only needs a second. She can just put it in the back of the net.”
Cuff simply took over the game Tuesday.
“I definitely started working on my speed of play,” said Cuff of her recent emergence. “I used to play really slow, but that’s about it.”
Sherwood will face the winner of the matchup between No. 2 seed Frederica and No. 3 seed Oak Mountain this weekend. While the Lady Eagles won comfortably Tuesday, they know this isn’t the time to let up.
“We need to work on our runs and switching the field,” Herrod said. “That’s what we got done (Tuesday) and that’s basically what helped us win.”
Schultz said that no matter who his team plays next, they will be ready.
“I think it’s going to be a similar game,” Schultz said. “As long as we continue doing what we’re doing, I think we’re going to be really good.”
TAE GIRLS 4, PIEDMONT 1: Terrell Academy senior Maura Milliron scored two goals to keep her career and the Lady Eagles’ season alive Tuesday in the first round of the GISA Class A state playoffs.
The No. 2 seed Lady Eagles, who took a 2-0 lead into halftime, also got goals from Olivia Rogers and Brittney Spilman.
“We started off slow, but we came back and settled in,” TAE coach Veann Farr said. “We played our game, and I was very proud of the girls.”
The Lady Eagles improved to 15-2 with the win and will play again this weekend in the second round against an opponent yet to be determined.
Crisp Academy clinches region title
CORDELE — Crisp Academy’s baseball team won the GISA Region 3-A title for the third time in the past four years with a mercy-rule five-inning win against Georgia Christian on Tuesday night, 10-0.
Rush Brown (5-0) pitched his third shutout in a row, giving up just two hits while striking out eight, and Greyson Farrow (2-for-4) and James Russell (2-for-3) led the Wildcats at the plate.
Crisp is 7-1 in the region and 9-3 overall and has four games left before opening the state tournament at home May 10.
DWS 11, Sherwood 1 (6): Austin Murphy improved to 4-2 in the mound after pitching four innings, striking out three and allowing no hits in Tuesday’s rivalry matchup against the Eagles.
Recent UGA signee Harris Webb was 2-for-4 with two doubles, while Davis Hines — who is also headed to Georgia — was 3-for-4. Sam Shellhaas added a 2-for-4 day with a double and Ryan Toole saw action, going 2-for-3 with a double.
The win puts DWS at 11-7 overall and sets up a big region showdown Thursday in Columbus against Calvary Christian.
DOUGHERTY 4, AMERICUS 3: The Dougherty baseball team won its second Region 1-AAAA game of the season on Tuesday thanks to a complete game from pitcher Kelvin Miller, who allowed just six hits in seven innings and struck out six.
Milner was also 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and an RBI, Christopher Thomas was 1-for-2 with two RBI and Christopher Hudson was 1-for-2 with an RBI for the Trojans (4-11, 2-10), who play again Thursday at Paul Eames Stadium against Westover.