A seven-year region title drought for LFO softball will have to wait at least one more year.
The Calhoun Lady Jackets, state champions in three of the last four seasons and currently ranked second in Class AAA by Score Atlanta, rallied in the late innings of both games of Wednesday's doubleheader in Fort Oglethorpe and swept the best-of-three series against the seventh-ranked Lady Warriors to claim the Region 6-AAA championship.
Calhoun 6, LFO 5
The opener of the series was a back-and-forth affair. Calhoun scored twice in the top of the first inning, but the Lady Warriors would answer with two in the bottom of the second as Keelie Mauk and Shaniyah Jones delivered RBI-singles with the bases loaded.
Taylor Phillips would give LFO the lead in the bottom of the third as she singled, moved to second on a walk and came around to score on a Calhoun throwing error as the Lady Jackets attempted a 6-4-3 double play.
Calhoun tied things up in the top of the fifth as Erin Barnes scored on a wild pitch, but the Lady Warriors would be gift-wrapped two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Morgan Ritchey and Taylor Bono came charging home on a dropped fly ball in left field that would have been the final out of the inning.
LFO would take the two-run advantage into the top of the seventh as they quickly recorded the first out. However, the tide would turn just seconds later.
Barnes reached first on an error and took second on a pitch in the dirt. That brought up Mattie Jane Mashburn, who promptly mashed a two-run homer to left-center to knot the game at 5-5. One batter later, Blair Hall, deposited a solo shot just inside the left-field foul pole to give the Lady Jackets a one-run lead in dramatic fashion.
Lyndsey Teague would draw a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh and a Mauk bunt would move Bono, the courtesy runner, into scoring position. But a final groundout would strand the runner and end the game.
Jones and Phillips had two hits each, while Mauk, Kourtney Morrison and Karson Bradford each had one hit. Morrison threw all seven innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Calhoun 11, LFO 2
In the nightcap, the Lady Warriors - playing as the visiting team - took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first, including an RBI by Morrison. Calhoun would push home a solo run in the third, but the Red-and-White would take the narrow one-run lead into the bottom of the fifth.
However, the wheels would come off for LFO in that inning as the Lady Jackets struck for five runs, three coming on a homer by Adella Carver, that gave her team a 6-2 lead.
Calhoun would tack on another five runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game on the run rule. Lyndi Rae Davis capped a 2-for-4, five-RBI performance with a homer in the frame.
Morrison gave up 10 earned runs on 10 hits, striking out two and walking one. She also had two of LFO's four hits, while the Lady Warriors hurt themselves with four errors. Mauk and Jerrian Jackson added singles for LFO.
Calhoun (24-8) and LFO (20-12) will be the top two seeds from Region 6 in the Class AAA state tournament when play commences on Oct. 11. Both teams will be at home for the first round of the tournament. Their opponents were not known as of press time.