The Calhoun softball team reserved one of its most potent performances at the plate, as well as one of its most commanding appearances inside the circle, for the first round of the AAA state playoffs, scoring a combined 19 runs in a two-game home series sweep of the Dawson County Lady Tigers on Tuesday.
In a mercy ruled-shortened 8-0 victory in Game 1, the Lady Jackets (24-7, 13-3 in Region 6-AAA) wasted no time lighting up its half of the scoreboard. After Carlie Henderson reached base on a single and Lyndi Rae Davis was hit by a pitch, Malysha Winston and Anna Taylor produced Calhoun’s pair of key hits, with a RBI-single apiece.
Calhoun tacked on three more runs in the second, with Erin Barnes tallying a RBI on a fielders choice and Davis producing yet again by clobbering a two-run homerun over the deepest part of the park.
In the third frame, Jordan Blair contributed a two-run homerun of her own, which was her second hit of the contest. Molly Walker then sealed the win with a RBI-single in the fourth.
Just as crucial as the lineups copious contributions was a lights out pitching performance by Maggie McBrayer, who tossed a no-hitter in Game 1, picking up a win and striking out six in five innings.
“In that first game I thought we came out with the right mentality, and we were aggressive at the plate and in the circle,” Calhoun head coach Diane Smith said. “Maggie was as dominant as ever. I was proud of the way that we were able to get an early advantage over their pitcher, and once our lineup picks up some momentum it’s hard to slow us down.”
The Lady Jackets rolled that offensive momentum into Game 2, coming out on top in a longer, but still dominant, 11-3 victory.
After a quiet first two innings, Calhoun broke open the scoring with a
Henderson RBI-single and a towering three-run homer by Davis in the third. Davis was far from finished, chipping in a RBI generating-sacrifice fly right in the fifth inning before Winston scratched across another run on a searing RBI-single.
The Lady Jackets ended the evening on its highest note, locking in the win with a five-run seventh inning, including a RBI-single by Davis, RBI-single by Taylor, a RBI-single by Walker, a duo of run-producing sacrifice flies by Blair and freshman Molly Banks, who also added a hit.
Calhoun decided to opt for more of a committee approach to pitching in Game 2, with Lona Sims getting the start and contributing a three-inning, no-hit effort that eventually resulted in the win. Walker came on in relief, allowing three runs but picking up a strikeout and pitching out of a jam. McBrayer’s number was called upon to close the game out, who racked up another six strikeouts in just two innings of relief.
“I’m glad we were able to carry the same mentality into Game 2, and we were able to get a couple of our other pitchers some valuable work in this one,” Smith said. “I was happy with our overall effort today. We haven’t lost on this field in two years, and we plan on keeping it that way.”
Calhoun advances to Round 2 of the AAA state playoffs, where it will host the winner of Westminster and Jackson County next Wednesday.