Posted: Wednesday, October 16th 2013 at 11:59pm
Softball playoffs: East Hall, Cartersville split; Game 3 Thursday
By Jeff Hart Staff
East Hall players high-five each other during Game 1 of the Lady Vikings first round series against Cartersville Wednesday in the Class AAA state softball playoffs.
RABBITTOWN -- East Hall did not flinch in its first-ever foray into the girls state softball playoffs.
The Lady Vikings split a pair of games with Cartersville in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs Wednesday at East Hall Park. East Hall rallied for a 2-1, 8 inning win in Game 1 and then the Lady Hurricanes rallied for a 9-6 win in Game 2 to force a deciding Game 3 in their best-of-three series.
First pitch for Game 3 is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday at East Hall Park. (NOTE: Scroll down for a look at all of the area's first round softball playoff results from Wednesday.)
Thursday’s winner will move on to play the winner of the Woodward Academy-Oconee County series in the second round beginning next week.
East Hall coach Jenny Crow said her squad did not seem fazed by the playoff atmosphere.
“I thought they were ready to play. They didn’t seem nervous at all,” Crow said. “When you look at the two games offensively we did what we needed to do. We needed to make a couple of plays behind (pitcher) Natalie (Winters). If we make those plays we get the sweep.”
Winters earned the win in Game 1 allowing just the one run in a complete-game effort for East Hall. She pitched well enough to win Game 2 allowing just two earned runs while going the distance.
“Natalie pitched very well, She probably deserved a better fate in the second game,” Crow said. “But that’s part of the game. We just have to come out (Thursday) and be ready to play.”
East Hall looked poised to pull off the unexpected sweep but a two-error fourth inning in Game 2 led to five unearned runs for Cartersville that erased a 5-1 Lady Vikings lead.
Game 1: East Hall 2, Cartersville 1 8 inn
Josie Coker lined a two-strike single to left, driving in pinch-runner Makayla Wilson to win the opening game. Coker’s hit came after the Lady Hurricane’s walked East Hall’s RBI leader Kali Turner to load the bases with two outs.
The game was nip-and-tuck the entire way.
Cartersville’s Mallory Jackson broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with a long one-out home run to left for a 1-0 lead.
East Hall would respond in the bottom of the inning. Turner drilled a lead-off home run to leftfield to tie the game 1-1. It stayed that way until the eighth.
The Lady Purple Hurricanes had a huge opportunity to blow the game open in the top of the sixth loading the bases with no outs on an infield single and two walks. But Winters got a strike out, a pop up, and a fly out to center to get out of the mess.
The Lady Vikings had a chance to grab the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Abby Black led off with a bunt single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Chelsea Dale. But Turner flied out to deep left and Coker popped up to third to end the threat.
Cartersville had another shot in the seventh getting the first two batters on. But Winters induced another pop-up, a fielder’s choice, and a soft liner behind third to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, East Hall’s Makenzie Robinson laced a one-out single to right. The Lady Hurricane’s Mallory Howard stole a double from Madison Brown with a diving catch in right-center and Erika Lopez popped up to end the inning.
Winters stranded seven Cartersville baserunners in the final three innings.
Game 2: Cartersville 9, East Hall 6
Cartersville would tie game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second on a RBI double by Maddie Geiger with two outs.
East Hall would come right back again in the top of the third. Turner reached on a one-out single and Coker reached on an error sending Turner to third. House then belted a two-run double to center and Robinson followed with a double scoring House to push the lead to 4-1.
Cartersville tried to answer in the bottom of the third getting a walk and two singles to load the bases with no outs. But again Winters got out of trouble inducing a soft liner to second, a strikeout, and then a liner to center without allowing a run.
East Hall continued to add on in the fourth. Turner drove in Dale, who singled and stole second, with a two-out single for her second RBI in the series and a 5-1 lead.
Cartersville would answer back in the fourth taking advantage of two key East Hall errors to score five runs with two out in the inning. The Lady Hurricanes trimmed the lead to 5-3 on an error with the bases loaded and then Kennedy Bailey blasted a three-run home run to give Cartersville a 6-5 lead.
Back came East Hall in the fifth. Robinson reached on a one-out error, Madison Brown followed with a walk, and a Lopez single loaded the bases with one out. But, after a fielder’s choice erased Robinson at home, Black flied out to left to end the threat.
The Lady Hurricanes would play long-ball again in the fifth. Annalyn Yantis led off with a solo home run for a 7-5 lead. Hunter Irvin would follow with a two-out, two-run single to push the lead to 9-5.
East Hall was not done, however. Dale led off the sixth inning with a double to left. She would score on a Turner ground out to cut the lead to 9-6 but they could get no closer.
In the seventh the Lady Vikings loaded the bases with nobody out on a single by Brown, a double by Lopez, and an infield hit by Burce. But Yantis would get Black to fly out and Dale to pop up for the first two outs. Turner would send a long fly ball to center that was caught on a diving catch near the wall to end the game.
AREA SOFTBALL FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF RESULTS FOR WEDNESDAY
Lumpkin County 1-1 Marist
Lumpkin wins Game 1, 11-8
Marist wins Game 2, 8-4
-- Game 3 Thursday
Buford 2-0 Sonoraville
Buford wins Game 1, 11-0
Buford wins Game 2, 7-1
Jackson County 2-0 Blessed Trinity
Jackson wins Game 1, 3-2
Jackson wins Game 2, 11-3
East Hall 1-1 Cartersville
East Hall wins Game 1, 2-1 (8 innings)
Cartersville wins Game 2, 9-6
-- Game 3 Thursday
North Murray 2-0 Banks County
North Murray wins Game 1, 9-8
North Murray wins Game 2, 12-2
Ringgold 2-0 Fannin County
Ringgold wins Game 1, 10-2
Ringgold wins Game 2, 7-4
Jefferson 1-1 Westminster
Jefferson wins Game 1, 8-0
Westminster wins Game 2, 2-0
-- Game 3 Thursday
Union County 1-1 Lovett
Union wins Game 1, 9-0
Lovett wins Game 2, 7-4
-- Game 3 Thursday
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