A five-year streak was ended by the LFO Lady Warriors on Wednesday night.
And was ended emphatically.
For the first time since the 2012 season, LFO won an opening round series in the Class AAA state softball tournament as they pounded out 25 hits and did not commit a single error in an 8-0, 10-2 doubleheader sweep of Pace Academy at Chip Liner Field.
"We knew that we probably weren't going to see a team tonight that was better than anyone in our own region, so my biggest concerns was us thinking it was going to be an easy one and coming out flat," Lady Warriors head coach Tony Ellis said. "For the most part, we didn't do that. Kourtney (Morrison) pitched well again, we hit the ball well when we had to and (Pace) made a few mistakes."
LFO, who entered the game as the No. 2 seed from Region 6, got huge nights at the plate from several players, but none bigger that junior shortstop Taylor Phillips. Phillips torched the Lady Knights with four doubles in her eight at-bats in the best-of-three series. She scored three times and drove in eight runs - three in the opener and five in Game 2.
Leadoff hitter Shaniyah Jones also had a big night setting the table for Phillips as she went 5-for-6 with a double, two walks and an RBI, while her six runs scored gave plenty of run support for Morrison, the senior ace.
The righty gave up just one hit and one walk in five innings in the opener, finishing with seven strikeouts. She pitched seven innings in the nightcap, scattering three hits, allowing a walk and just one earned run, while fanning 11 Pace hitters.
"She was pretty dominant tonight," Ellis said. "She's the one we're going to have to ride."
LFO scored twice in the bottom of the first inning of Game 1, opened up a comfortable 6-0 lead after two innings and tacked on two more in the bottom of the fifth to end the game on the run rule.
Morrison helped herself with two hits and a pair of RBIs, while Lyndsey Teague had two of LFO's 14 total hits.
In the second game, LFO again did damage in the first two innings and again at the end. Playing as the visiting team, they led 5-1 after two innings and tacked on a run in the top of the fifth on Jones' RBI-single. Back-to-back doubles by Keelie Mauk and Haley Stahl plated a run in the top of the seventh and an infield single by Jerrian Jackson and a walk by Jones later in the frame set up Phillips for a bases-clearing, three-run double to cap the scoring for the Red-and-White.
Mauk finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Teague and Karson Bradford each picked up one RBI.
Up next for the No. 6-ranked Lady Warriors (22-12) is a trip next week to No. 4-ranked Jackson County. Jackson County, the Region 8 champions, hammered Lumpkin County, 15-1 and 15-6, on Wednesday. Should LFO win the series, they would advance to Columbus for the Class AAA Elite Eight for the first time since the 2009 season.
"(Jackson County) is a good team, but no better than anybody we've already played (this season)," Ellis added. "It should be a good series and it's probably going to come down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes"
The date and time for the series opener had not been determined as of press time.
It was a first-round sweep for all four teams from Region 6, all of whom are state-ranked this week by Score Atlanta.
No. 8 Sonoraville, the region's No. 4 seed, swept Region 5 champion Lovett, 2-0 and 7-0. Third-seeded and No. 5-ranked Bremen beat Westminster, 8-2 and 5-4, while region champion and No. 1-ranked Calhoun drubbed Cedar Grove, 19-0 and 16-0.