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PREP SOFTBALL: Chattooga makes final push to defeat Armuchee in extra innings

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In a game that saw 17 runs, three comebacks and plenty of rain-soaked innings, Chattooga escaped with a 9-8 win in eight innings against homestanding Armuchee. The win pushed Lady Indians of Summerville ahead of Armuchee and Pepperell and into second in the region standings.

“You play our region, and it is going to be a battle every ballgame,” Chattooga coach Jeff Bennett said. “When you come to play, you better be ready. And our girls were ready to battle tonight and I’m very proud of them.”

Chattooga (14-4, 6-2 7-AA) was led by Abby Hosmer, who went 3-for-5 with five RBIs, including a two-run home run and a game-ending RBI single in the eighth. Ziyah Underwood scored the go-ahead run and reached base five times with three hits while Gracelyn Veitch had three hits and two runs scored.

Armuchee (8-9, 6-4) had its own top performers, with Livia Skinner recording four walks and two runs, and Savannah Poole going 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Aleigha Allmon also tallied three walks and scored two runs, and starting pitcher Erin Carney allowed one earned run over her last five innings.

The game saw Armuchee erase a 6-1 deficit with six runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings to take its first lead. Each team countered with rallies the next three innings, leaving neither coach with any complaints about his team’s performance.

“All I told them after the game was to promise me they’ll play like that the rest of the year,” Armuchee coach Shane Arp said. 

Chattooga, eager to wipe away memories of a loss to Armuchee early in the season, started the game with Hosmer’s homer in the first inning. An RBI double from Hannah Thrasher and two-run triple from Sydney Marshall pushed the lead to 5-1 after two innings.

Meanwhile, Thrasher allowed only one run through the first three innings before struggling through the fourth and fifth. Alex Mitchell pitched the final three innings, allowing only one hit and one run.

But it was Hosmer who continued to come up big in key spots, first with a two-run single to put Chattooga up 8-7 in the sixth. Then in the eighth, a line drive to centerfield was enough to score Underwood and win the game.

“Abby is a leader, and she is batting fourth in our order for a reason,” Bennett said. “She always brings the power, and today she was there when we needed her to be clutch.”

Armuchee’s fourth inning comeback featured mostly walks, as nearly every player in the lineup displayed a focused patience at the plate. A two-run double from Poole and two-run single from Kassidy Kinsey helped cut the home team’s deficit to 6-5.

Arp’s team took its first lead with a pair of runs in the fifth and then tied the game at eight when Harlie Lewis scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.

“Our region is just a gauntlet,” Arp said. “I’ll take the teams in our region top to bottom against any other in the state. I doubt I’ll find one more competitive.”

Armuchee plays Gordon Central at home on Thursday while Chattooga hosts region leader Rockmart.