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PREP SOFTBALL: Rockmart powers past Dade County to win Region 7-AA title

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The Rockmart softball team relied on its hitting prowess throughout Region 7-AA play this season to pull away from opponents and often reached double digits.

And in the region championship game Thursday night at Alto Park, the Lady Jackets didn’t plan on going off script.

Rockmart produced six runs in the first inning and three home runs before the night was through to beat Dade County 11-6 for its second consecutive Region 7-AA title. The Lady Jackets finished the tournament a perfect 3-0 and undefeated against region competition this season.

“Our region is one of the best, so to not drop a game is something special,” Rockmart coach Steve Luke said. “It’s all comes down to the girls putting in the effort in practice.”

Sophomore Carlee Graham finished with two home runs in the title game, including a two-run shot in the first inning. Cambree Stanley went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, Emma Evans went 2 for 3 with a run scored and Emily Maulding went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one home run.

Starting pitcher Emily Loveless powered her way through all seven innings, allowing six runs and five hits.

After Stanley flew out to begin the first, Rockmart (27-2) came up with a pair of singles and a walk to put two runs on the board before Graham’s home run made it 4-0.

Three more hits and two walks put a few more runs on the board and gave them a 6-0 lead.

The solo shots from Maulding and Graham again helped push the lead to 9-1, and a two-run fifth inning countered Dade County (18-14) after the Lady Wolverines rallied for four runs in the top of the inning.

The win marked the 15th time this season the Lady Jackets have scored double-digits runs.

“We are just an explosive team,” Luke said. “We just have so many tools, so much talent coming off the bench. It’s just a great group of girls who really understand their role.”

The final result almost mirrors last season when the Lady Jackets only dropped one region game and made it to the Elite Eight in Columbus. Luke said while the region title is sweet, the team has higher aspirations.

“Obviously we are happy, especially with how hard these girls have worked,” Luke said. “But we have a big goal in mind. When you get a taste of Columbus, that’s really always on your mind.”

In the earlier game, Dade County held Armuchee to three hits in a 1-0 victory to win the right to host a state playoff game. Megan Schauer hit an RBI single in the top of the sixth to score Jasmine Crabtree for the game’s only run.

For Armuchee (13-11), only Aleigha Allmon, Lily Watson and Livia Skinner recorded hits. Starting pitcher Erin Carney allowed five hits and one run through seven innings along with five strikeouts.

Dade starting pitcher Zoie Moore controlled the game, but the Lady Indians had their chances.

Allmon recorded a leadoff single in the sixth and reached third base with one out, but a pair of pop outs killed the inning.

“When you start to play ball in October, it’s the ones who can execute in the moment who advance,” Armuchee coach Shane Arp said. “We have to keep that in mind as we start the playoffs next week.”