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PREP SOFTBALL: Rockmart overcomes Pepperell's fast start to win 19-9

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ROCKMART — In one half-inning Wednesday, Pepperell’s softball team showed Rockmart why it can be a serious threat to the Lady Jackets in the Region 7-AA tournament next week.

In the next half-inning, Rockmart reminded the Lady Dragons why it’s the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

The Lady Jackets followed Pepperell’s early six-run rally with 12 runs in the bottom of the first on the way to a 19-9 victory in five innings in Rockmart in the final regular season game for both teams.

“After that first inning, we came together and talked about putting three or four together. Didn’t think we were going to lay 12 runs,” Rockmart coach Steve Luke said. “But we hit the ball well, and we are certainly where we need to be.”

Cambree Stanley and Kelsea Elrod each reached base four times and scored four times, while Emily Loveless had four hits with six RBIs. Carlee Graham had two hits and six RBIs, including a grand slam in the first inning.

Pepperell’s Anna Cowan went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored, and Kaylee Mansell went 2 for 3 with two runs scored.

Grace Hufford also scored two runs while recording a single and a walk.

Rockmart’s 12-spot was the perfect display of the team’s capabilities, with 11 of the first 12 batters reaching base. The Lady Jackets (24-2, 14-0 7-AA) moved through their order mostly with singles until Graham’s home run made the game 12-6.

The offense kept rolling in the second with six hits and five runs, and another two runs were added in the fourth. Meanwhile, Loveless and Graham allowed three runs in the final four innings to secure the run-rule victory.

It’s the 12th time this season Rockmart has scored double-digits, and the ninth time against a region opponent.

“We didn’t have two starters playing tonight, so this really says something about our depth,” Luke said. “We’re a deep team, we have a lot of girls who can swing the bat and we are just trying to get them ready for the postseason.”

Pepperell (19-5, 10-4) still had plenty to be proud about after the game, with its nine runs marking the most Rockmart has allowed all season.

The first six Pepperell batters reached base to begin the game, five of those six coming via singles. The first inning was a notable display of speed, with the Lady Dragons stealing three bases in the inning and recording three infield singles.

The effort left Pepperell coach Jeff Rickman in positive spirits entering the postseason.

“My bunch never quit. They kept coming. Rockmart is just a great-hitting ballclub,” Rickman said. “The most important games are still to come, and I’m glad we are playing so well.”

The Region 7-AA tournament starts Saturday at Alto Park. Rockmart will not play until Monday at 6 p.m.