COMMERCE — Armuchee’s season ended Wednesday at the hands of the Commerce Tigers, the No. 2 seed from Region 8-A Public.
The Lady Indians were unable to score a run against the Tigers, losing Game 1, 8-0, and Game 2, 16-0.
“We ran into arguably the best hitting team in the state and they proved it,” said Armuchee head coach Andy Henderson. “They have a short fence, and they know how to use it. It doesn’t dampen our season. We were led by our two seniors Kelsie Burkett, who I think is one of the best defensive outfielders in the state and Delaney Steen, who was the most selfless player I’ve coached in many years.”
Kelsie Burkett did manage to get two hits off Commerce in Game 1, but Armuchee was held hitless in Game 2.
Burkett opened the first game with a single, but she was Armuchee’s only baserunner until Marlee Lowrey drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third inning. Between those two base runners, Commerce built a 4-0 lead, complete with a two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning. The Tigers hit another home run in the bottom of the third inning to take a 5-0 lead.
Armuchee (9-17-1) threatened Commerce’s lead in the top of the fourth inning by loading the bases with no outs. Izzy Espy and Kelsey Wooten reached on errors in the infield, and Kenzie Osborn singled on a shallow pop fly.
However, the runner was picked off at third base, and the Tigers got two more outs via a strikeout and a ground ball to squash the Lady Indians’ rally attempt.
The Tigers added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to go up 8-0. Armuchee made one last attempt at a rally in the top of the fifth inning when Sara Harris drew a one-out walk and Burkett singled on a line drive to right field. Two strikeouts brought the game to a premature ending.
Commerce was even more explosive at the plate in the second game. The Tigers hit four home runs, including back-to-back homers in the top of the third inning, and a pair of two-run homers in the top of the fourth inning.
The Lady Indians couldn’t keep up. Their only two baserunners in Game 2 came from errors. Espy reached on a two-out error in the bottom of the first inning, and Delaney Steen reached on an error in the bottom of the second inning.
Commerce will now move on to the second round of the Class A Public State Tournament where they will visit Region 2-A Public No. 1 seed Lanier County. Armuchee’s season comes to a close after their first state tournament appearance since 2017.
Henderson said he is excited about the direction the program is going with a lot of young talent returning next season.
“We will return everyone else other than those seniors, including our shortstop Kelsey Wooten, who hit .517 this season as well as several other juniors and our No. 1 pitcher, sophomore Sara Harris.
“We will get back to work soon on the field and in the weight room to see what the future holds.”