Eight softball champions were crowned on Saturday at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus. Here are the finals recaps for each classification.
East Coweta defeated Etowah 10-0 to complete a perfect 36-0 season and claim the school’s first softball state title. Starting pitcher Rachel Vaughan went the distance for her third win of championship week, striking out eight and giving up just two hits. Vaughan also started the scoring for East Coweta with a two-RBI double in the first inning, and Carmen Prior and Lilly Agan drove home runs in the second inning to make it 4-0 Lady Indians. Vaughan hit a two-run homer in the third inning, and Caison Byars added another two-run shot later in the frame to make it 9-0 after three. East Coweta added another run in the fourth when Prior scored on a passed ball, and the game was called after five innings due to the run rule.
Vaughan was 3-for-3 with four RBI on her two doubles and a home run. The South Carolina commit had a walk-off RBI in East Coweta’s 3-2 win over Etowah on Friday that sent the Lady Indians to the championship game, and Vaughan got the win after pitching the last two innings in relief. Vaughan’s first win came over Kennesaw Mountain on Thursday, 6-1.
Creekview, which lost in the finals last season, won the school’s first state title with a thrilling 8-7 win over Allatoona in the teams’ second game Saturday. Sophomore Emily Wilkie, the reigning Class AAAAAA Player of the Year and a Florida commit, hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the seventh inning to break a 7-7 tie, and AnnaBelle Tippens, who came on in relief to pitch the last six innings, got a groundout to first with a runner on base to end the game. In Game 2, Wilkie was 2-for-4 with two RBI, a run scored and the winning home run, her third of the day after going 2-for-4 with five RBI, two home runs and two runs scored in the first game, a 7-6 Allatoona win.
Creekview’s Erin Griffin gave up two runs in the first inning and was charged with two in the second before coming out. But Griffin got the Lady Grizzlies on the scoreboard in the top of the second with a two-out, two-run single. Creekview then strung together four straight hits to take a 6-2 lead in the second, but Allatoona scored four runs in the bottom of the inning and one more in the third to take a 7-6 lead. Pippens struck out the side in the fourth inning and held Allatoona from there. Creekview tied it 7-7 in the fifth inning after Hannah Fitzgerald hit a two-out double to center field to score Brianna Stubbs, who had singled and stolen second base.
Locust Grove won its first softball title with an undefeated run through the championships and 4-2 win over Wayne County. The Lady Wildcats fell behind 2-0 in the first inning as starting pitcher Martina Maloch gave up four hits, but Locust Grove came back with four runs in the second. In the inning, Savannah Brockenbrough scored from second on an infield single from Maloch, then 9-hitter Kelly Kight got a single to put two on base. Leadoff hitter Megan Pildner then hit a three-run home run to give Locust Grove a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Maloch gave up just two hits over the final six innings in going the distance for her third win of the week. Pildner’s home run was her fourth of the championship week after she hit just one previously this season, and Locust Grove hit 10 during the week to double its season total. Pildner had a grand slam in Friday night’s 14-2 win over Wayne County that put it in the finals. Locust Grove started the championship week with a 6-5 win over Buford in the first game to send the Lady Wolves, who were seeking their 11th-straight state title, to the losers bracket on Thursday.
Northside-Columbus was taken to a deciding Game 2 against Stephens County, but the Lady Patriots were victorious 6-0 to take the Class AAAA crown. Stephens County took Game 1 2-0 after taking the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI single which set up a final game for the championship. Northside’s Hannah George had a strong performance in Game 2 to help the Lady Patriots win the title. In the first inning, George, who had eight strikeouts pitching Game 1, hit an RBI single to put Northside up 1-0 before Karlee Fuller extender the lead to 3-0 on a two-run home run. Stephens County threatened in the bottom of the fourth and got the bases loaded, but George got out of the inning to protect the 3-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Jada Chadwick pushed the lead to 5-0 on an RBI double. Emily Holmes put the game away in the sixth inning with an RBI double to make it a 6-0 lead.
The Calhoun Lady Yellow Jackets padded a 3-2 lead with a solo home run by Adella Carver in the third inning and then held on for a 4-2 victory against Cook in the Class AAA championship game. Calhoun got the scoring started early on a three-run home run by Lyndi Rae Davis in the top of the first, setting the tone for the game. Cook struck back in the bottom of the inning to pull to within one run, 3-2. Starting pitcher Maggie McBrayer held Cook scoreless in the final six innings. In the fifth inning, Cook threatened with two runners on base, but McBrayer left them stranded, protecting the lead.
Rockmart held off Monticello 9-7 in the championship game, getting a game-ending double play in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out and runners on first and second base, third baseman Emilee Maulding caught a line drive and threw to Anna Lewis at second base to double the runner, ending the game. Emily Loveless went the distance for the win and was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in the first and RBI double in the sixth to break a 7-7 tie. Maulding got an RBI single in the first to make it 3-0, and Rockmart extended its lead to 7-1 after a four-run fourth. Kelsea Elrod had a two-run double and Caroline Conring had a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Monticello responded with a three-run homer from Madison Abbott in the fourth and a three-run fifth to tie the game, but Rockmart scored two more in the sixth on Loveless’s RBI and Conring’s sacrifice fly that scored Alexis Teems from second base.
Gordon Lee waltzed to its third state championship in a row and eighth state championship overall with a 14-4 victory over Trion on Saturday morning. Gordon Lee took control of the game in the third and fourth innings, scoring 12 runs to Trion’s two. The Lady Trojans were led by Paxton Grimes, who was 3-for-3 at the plate with two home runs and six RBI. Gracey Kruse was 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI. Regan Thompson drove in two runs on two hits in four at-bats. Faith Alexander (3-for-4), K.G. McElhaney (1-for-3), and Kirbie Bradley (1-for-2) each drove in a run. In 29 at-bats, Gordon Lee had 16 hits for 14 runs. Emma Minghini got the win after pitching the last 3.2 innings.
It took two games in the final series, but Wesleyan’s Reece Holbrook hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Lady Wolves a 5-4 win and the state title over Tattnall Square. Tattnall Square, out of the losers bracket, took the first game on Saturday morning 3-0. In Game 2, Wesleyan’s Cassie Henning stranded two runners in the bottom of the first inning to keep Tattnall at bay. Holbrook hit a two-run home run in the top of the first to give Wesleyan a 2-0 lead, but in the third inning, Tattnall scored four runs to grab a 4-2 lead. Wesleyan’s Ann Margaret Jones tied the game at 4-4 with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth. In the top of the eighth inning, Wesleyan’s Madison Kerpics struck out the side, bringing Holbrook back to the plate in the bottom of the eighth for the game-winning home run.