Four to go.
The Sonoraville High School softball team’s countdown to a possible AAA state championship began Wednesday afternoon in the heat of The Furnace with the Phoenix sweeping Hart County in their best-of-three matchup.
The Phoenix took a tight Game One by a 3-0 count before taking Game Two by a 6-2 advantage to move into the round of Sweet 16 next week.
For the second round, the Phoenix will be back at home and will play Morgan County Wednesday, Oct. 20, in a doubleheader to begin their best-of-three series.
The first game is set for 4 p.m. with the second to start at 6 p.m. and if the teams need to play a Game Three, that will be held on Thursday afternoon in Sonoraville.
Morgan County advanced to the second round of the state playoffs by defeating Crisp County in two games in their best-of-three matchup on Wednesday. The Bulldogs had a pair of tough ones to start their playoffs, winning Game One by a 3-2 score and then taking the nightcap 5-3.
The wins over Hart County, which was the fourth seed out of Region 8, was Sonoraville’s third straight in the postseason, beginning Saturday with their 8-0 win over LaFayette to claim the number one seed out of AAA Region 6.
Now they hope to keep that momentum going against Morgan County, which finished second in Region 4 behind state-ranked Harlem. The Bulldogs finished with just two losses in Region play and both of them were to Harlem. They are also sporting a 22-5 record.
The Phoenix took Game One over Hart County with a tried-and-true formula — great pitching, good defense and a few runs on the board.
Senior pitcher Taylor Long, who along with her four classmates are looking to end their storied high school careers as state champions, was a one-woman wrecking crew, collecting 14 strikeouts in seven innings and driving in all three of her team’s runs with a pair of hits while giving up just five
She also drove in all three of her team’s runs with a pair of hits.
Fellow senior Molly Speach also had a hit and Erin Garland walked twice and scored twice.
In Game Two, freshman Harley Brown started and worked three innings before Long came on in relief to throw the final four.
Long continued her torrid pace at the plate with a triple and a single and she drove in two runs. Taylor Martin also had a pair of hits, including a double, and two RBI and Olyvia Hopper and Daelynn Cochran were both 2-for-2 with Hopper pounding out a double and Cochran scoring twice to pace the offense.