In a game that featured 26 runs, 28 hits and 49 baserunners, the shootout between Armuchee and Rockmart all came down to one defensive play.
Rockmart scored a pair of runs in the sixth and a diving catch from outfielder Cambree Stanley in the top of the seventh helped the Lady Jackets preserve a wild 14-12 win against Armuchee on Tuesday night in the Region 7-AA Tournament in Alto Park.
“Man, this was just one of those games,” Rockmart coach Steve Luke said.
“Armuchee certainly put up a good fight. They swung it and we swung it. But at this point of the year, a win is a win and you take it and move on.”
The win ensures Rockmart (26-2) will host a state playoff game, and puts it one win away from a second consecutive region title.
The Lady Jackets will play the winner of Thursday’s 4 p.m. game between Armuchee and Dade County at 6 p.m. in the finals of the double-elimination tournament.
Dade County (16-13) clinched its playoff spot with a 15-0 win against Model and then took down Pepperell 3-2 in an eight inning battle on Tuesday to stay alive in the tournament.
Stanley finished with three singles and three runs scored for Rockmart, while Kelsea Elrod went 3 for 4 including a solo home run.
Emily Loveless went 3 for 4 with five RBIs, while Carlee Graham reached base four times and had the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth.
Armuchee’s Livia Skinner and Karson Fallin both reached base four times and scored three runs, while Savannah Poole went 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Lily Watson went 3 for 5 with four RBIs, and Erin Carney had two hits, including a two-run homer to tie the game in top of the sixth.
Fallin and Poole reached base in the seventh with one out to give the Lady Indians (13-10) a chance to tie the game. But Watson’s line drive to center was snatched by Stanley just before it hit the ground, and she quickly picked off Poole to give Rockmart the win.
“Cambree is capable of doing just about anything in a game,” Luke said. “On offense or defense, she has the ability to swing a game around immediately and it happened there.
Armuchee rallied from deficits of 5-0 and 12-7, and countered each of Rockmart’s big innings with a rally of its own. Neither starter, Loveless or Carney, could get their stuff going, and hitting became more rampant when the relievers came in.
Despite the loss, Armuchee coach Shane Arp said he was still proud of his team’s effort. Whether it was a two-run triple from Poole in the fifth or Carney’s massive home run in the sixth, he said it is clear to him that the team is playing its best softball of the season.
“I’ve preached all year long, peak at the right time,” Arp said. “We want to play our best ball in October. I think we’re doing that this week. And regardless of this result, we are a win away from hosting a state playoff game.”
In the other early game on Tuesday, Pepperell (19-7) scored five runs in the fifth and sixth to take down Chattooga 7-2 and earn its state berth.
Grace Hufford went 2 for 2 with two walks, two RBIs and two runs scored, and Kaylee Mansell went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Meanwhile, Anna Cowan pitched all seven innings to preserve the lead and the win.
More than anything Pepperell was clutch, with five of the Lady Dragons’ seven runs came with two outs.