If the Sonoraville High School softball team didn’t have a bullseye on their backs before (and we believe they did), they definitely do now.
That’s because the unbeaten Lady Phoenix are now the top-ranked 3-A team in the state of Georgia.
There appeared to be only two 3-A softball clubs still undefeated in the Peach State going into this week and coach Chad Hayes’ team was one of them, sporting a stellar 7-0 mark. (Crisp County in Cordele was the other at 6-0 and they are ranked number two).
And the Lady Phoenix have added two more wins to that total since the latest listings came out, silencing Region 6 opponents Lakeview- Fort Oglethorpe, 6-0, to close out last week and then taking down North Murray, 3-0 Wednesday afternoon to head into this weekend’s Allatoona tournament with an as-good-as-it-sounds 9-0 record.
Those victories also put Sonoraville at 5-0 on the season in their region and alone at the top as everyone else has lost a game.
The Region that the Phoenix play in is actually well-represented in the state AAA rankings with four of the nine teams in the top 20.
And those teams are all close to each other with LaFayette rated 16th while Ringgold is 17th and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe sits at number 20. The Phoenix have already beaten all three of those ballclubs in the first round of league play.
All three of those teams also began this week at .500 with LaFayette and LFO owning 4-4 records while Ringgold was 3-3. Of that trio, LaFayette played the Phoenix the toughest in the first round falling 3-2 although Ringgold definitely also made it a ball game with a 4-1 loss.
But Sonoraville did handle Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe just last week behind another outstanding pitching performance and serious production from their lengthy lineup.
The red-and-black jumped on the Warriors for six runs in the first two innings and it would be all they would need with the pitching of first Taylor Long and then reliever Lily Holton.
The home team jumped all over LFO for four runs in the bottom of the first. They opened it up with two more in their second at-bat.
Kelly Green had three of her team’s 10 hits with a 3-for-3 effort, including a double, and she drove in half her team’s runs with three RBI.
Long aided her own cause, going 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Taylor Martin drove in the other two runs, also going 2-for-3 with a double.
Erin Garland scored two runs with Ava Lambert, Harley Brown, Maddie Swancy, and Peyton McReynolds also crossing the plate in the win.
In the circle, Long once again simply shut them down, striking out 14 hitters and allowing just two hits in her six innings of work.
And Long is now about to surpass the 700 Club for career strikeouts after she was even better than that against North Murray with 18 K’s against the Mountaineers in that win. She took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before the visitors got their only hit of the game.
With 18 strikeouts, that meant the Sonoraville defense also only had to make three plays behind their ace.
The Phoenix finished with just four hits in the game, but they did take four walks and scratched out a run in three different innings.
They scored their runs in the first, third and fourth innings.
Brown, Long, Green and Molly Speach had the team’s four hits.
The Phoenix return to the Region schedule Wednesday when they host Ringgold.