Traveling for the GHSA state softball playoffs last week took the Rockmart softball team to the north and south.
And thanks to some timely hitting in a do-or-die situation, the Lady Jackets are going a little farther.
Faced with elimination in a decisive Game 3 against Sandy Creek on Saturday in the Sweet 16, Rockmart used big innings at the plate to win 13-6 and advance to the Class 3A Elite Eight.
The No. 3 seed from Region 6-3A, the Lady Jackets swept Lumpkin County in the first round series on Tuesday, Oct. 20, before splitting a doubleheader with Region 5-3A champion Sandy Creek on Friday in Tyrone.
A little rest turned out to be just what was needed for Rockmart as the Lady Jackets exploded for 11 hits and 13 runs Saturday against Lady Patriots in Game 3 on the way to a 13-6 victory to win the series.
Sam Wolfe, Rockmart’s junior third baseman, finished with three hits and five RBIs in the game, while Emilee Register had two hits and two RBIs to go with three strikeouts over five innings of work.
Gracey Arnold had two RBIs and struck out three while pitching the final two innings of the game.
The win put the Lady Jackets en route to take on Southeast Bulloch in Brooklet, just east of Statesboro, for a doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 27. A win in the best-of-three series would earn them a Final Four berth and a spot in the GHSA State Tournament in Columbus this weekend.
Rockmart got to the final four in Class AA last year and was eliminated in the Sweet 16 in 2018 after winning the state AA title in 2017.
Arnold had four RBIs in Game 1 against Lumpkin County as Rockmart opened the contest with three runs in the top of the first and never looked back.
A six-run third inning laid the foundation for a 12-2 victory cut short by the run rule after five innings.
Megan Johnson had two hits and two RBIs, while Arnold finished with three hits in the game. Wolfe had an RBI and Maddie Owens had two hits. Register struck out eight, and Alexis Teems drew three walks. With Register back in the circle for Game 2, Rockmart got out to a slow start and Lumpkin County took a 4-2 lead in the top of the third.
But the Lady Jackets answered right back with a three-run bottom of the third and another three spot in the fifth on the way to an 8-5 victory.
Wolfe had two RBIs in the game, while Register had four strikeouts. Owens finished with three hits to lead Rockmart at the plate.
A two-run seventh inning gave Rockmart the last-minute boost in Game 1 against Sandy Creek on Friday in Tyrone. Register once again shined in the circle, striking out 11 and scattering four hits while also getting two RBIs.
Arnold had three hits and helped Rockmart recover after Sandy Creek took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
What Sandy Creek threatened to do in Game 1 it finished in Game 2 as Rockmart was held to five hits in a 5-1 loss to force a Game 3 in the Sweet 16 series.
The host Lady Patriots scored a run in each of the first three innings to take a 3-1 lead and then put up a run in the sixth and seventh while holding Rockmart scoreless the rest of the way.
Register had another 11-strikeout performance, this time in six innings, while Arnold came on in relief in the final inning, striking out one.
Wolfe and Arnold each had two hits for the Lady Jackets, who returned to Tyrone on Saturday for the deciding game in the series.