DAMASCUS — Southwest Georgia Academy softball coach Tommy Manry talked to his Lady Warriors softball team about its unbeaten record before Monday’s GISA state tournament opening-round series victory against John Milledge.
The Lady Warriors improved to 18-0 with a pair of victories – 6-1 and 7-2 – to advance to the second round.
“The record is something to be proud of,” Manry said. “But I also told them that we couldn’t look past the end of our noses.”
In Game 1, the Lady Warriors got a complete-game one-hitter from star pitcher Madison Ragan, the Herald’s reigning Player of the Year.
It didn’t start out as easy as it looked. John Milledge set down the Lady Warrior lineup in order during the first three innings. It wasn’t until a five-run fifth inning that SGA took the lead for good. Baylee Everson and Ragan each added two-run doubles to break open the game.
“We were a little bit tight to start the game to be honest with you,” Manry said. “But once we broke the ice in the fifth, it was like the floodgates opened. Our girls sort of loosened up and started hitting the ball. We had five hits in the fifth inning.”
Ragan recorded six strikeouts, bringing her career total to 702. She also finished 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs.
In Game 2, SGA pitcher Allison Warren stifled John Milledge. She also finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Kendyl Carver went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, while Ragan went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.
“Allison did a great job keeping them off-balanced with her pitching,” Manry said. “Anytime they would get a runner, we would come back with great defense or she would make a good pitch to get out.”
The Lady Warriors will meet Southland, which needed three games to oust Loganville Christian, on Thursday. Manry said the Lady Warriors needed to end Monday’s first-round series in two games.
“We needed to get it over and not have to worry about a third game,” he said. “Especially not with the rain we had over the weekend.”
SOUTHLAND ADVANCES: Southland Academy advanced to the second round, rallying to take victories in Games 2 and 3 after falling 10-5 in Game 1.
The Lady Raiders (11-8) won the second game, 11-2, then used a nail-biting 4-3 victory in the third game to advance.
In the deciding game, Hannah McCain had two doubles and an RBI, while Mary Melissa Roland and Baylee Palmer each added RBI singles to pace the offensive attack. Megan Burke was the winning pitcher.
Roland had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Lady Raiders to an 11-2 victory in Game 2. Kendall Crew added two hits and an RBI, while Dallas NeSmith added a double and two RBIs. Madison McPherson earned the victory on the mound.
In the first game, Madison McPherson went 4-for-4 with an RBI, McCain had two hits and Roland added an RBI single in the loss. Kendal Berry took the loss.
CRISP ACADEMY SWEEPS: It seemed the biggest obstacle Crisp Academy had to face was the weather on Monday. Late morning rain sent Crisp officials scrambling to get the playing field ready. When they did, the Lady Wildcats (18-3) swept Central Fellowship, 7-2 and 9-3, earning a date with Briarwood Academy on Thursday.
In Game 1, Savannah Brown hurled a complete-game gem, allowing just five hits and striking out four. Catcher Mandie Foster helped her out at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI.
In Game 2, Carson Pack was the winning pitcher and aided her own cause, going 2-for-4 at the plate. Foster added two hits, including a double and two RBIs. Parker Krause went 2-for-3, while Maddie Krause went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.
WESTWOOD SWEPT:Westwood’s season ended at Windsor Academy when they Lady Wildcats lost a pair of games — 9-1 and 13-9.
The Lady Wildcats end their season at 11-8. They had a chance in Game 2 with the score tied at 9 in the top of the seventh. However, four errors helped Windsor score four runs to take the game and the series.
Sage Sandefur finished the two-game series 4-for-8 at the plate with two doubles. Lindsey Bowles and Alex Palmer each went 3-for-6. Bowles had a triple, while Palmer added a double.