by Rob Grubbs
After a tough loss on Monday to Strong Rock Christian, the McIntosh Lady Chiefs (6-9) returned home on Tuesday for a Region 3-AAAAAA matchup with the Fayette County Tigers (3-4). After a scoreless first inning, McIntosh poured it on in the bottom of the second on the way to a 12-0 win.
Chief pitcher Rebecca Muh was in charge throughout. She stuck out the first five Tiger batters and nine in total during the run-shortened game. She finished with a two-hit shutout.
Fayette starting pitcher India Martin got off to a strong start with the help of first baseman Treasure Smith. Smith flashed the leather with a defensive highlight to end the first inning, unleashing a full stretch to get the runner at the bag.
Martin also got Fayette going offensively. She roped a two-out single in the top of the third inning. The single followed a Taylor Davis single, which was the first hit of the game. Davis took a fastball to right field with two outs, but was thrown out at second trying to get into scoring position.
Ashlyn Gaines started the second inning offensive rally for the Chiefs with a leadoff double to ignite a seven-run frame. Brooke Burnett, Emma Dunlap, Abbey Terry, and Muh all drove in runs add to the Chiefs lead. McIntosh added five more runs in the bottom of the third for the final margin. Muh finished with a two-hit shutout.
“She did a great job, she is a very good pitcher and we played well behind her,” said McIntosh coach Carlie Anderson, whose team has played an aggressive schedule to prepare themselves for the region battles and tournament ahead. “We really needed this win tonight, and I am proud of the way we played.”
For the Tigers, the word for the season has been improvement. With their shortstop Rasheedah Hasan constantly encouraging and coaching from the field, head coach Ebonie Ogletree’s squad has made significant strides from earlier in the season.
“Even if we feel like we are not as good as the other team, we just keep talking to each other and encouraging each other,” said Hasan. “Even if they have something we don’t have, we keep each other motivated.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the Whitewater Wildcats (14-2) traveled to Sharpsburg to take on the Class AAAAAAA top-ranked ranked East Coweta Indians (10-0), who are riding the wave of a 45-game winning streak.
Coach Robert Townsend’s squad was not intimidated by the defending state champions and their star pitcher, Kelley Lynch. Whitewater pitcher Emma Vessell matched her pitch-for-pitch in the early innings and shortstop Lily Griffith single-handedly put a run on the board to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Griffith lead of the top of the fourth with a perfectly placed bunt for a single, stole second and third, and scored on an overthrow by the Indians.
In a game that had the electricity of a playoff game, including a light show of lightning in the distant sky, Vessel overcame an East Coweta leadoff walk to start the fourth inning. It also kept the Wildcats in the lead.
The Indians lineup proved too strong to keep down for long. In the fifth inning, they unleashed an offensive barrage to give them a 7-1 lead. With the hour getting late and another 30-minute weather delay, the game was ended.
Also on Wednesday, the Starr’s Mill Panthers (14-1) hosted the Northgate Vikings in a non-region matchup. After scoring in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, Northgate tied the game in the fourth inning, but the Panthers responded with a runs in the fifth and sixth inning for the hard-fought victory.
Paige Andrews gave up five hits, all singles, and one unearned run. She also had three strikeouts. Leah Duben capped the game by driving in two late runs for the Panthers.
Key region matchups this coming week include Whitewater traveling to McIntosh on Thursday, while Starr’s Mill will host Griffin at home. Both games could potentially be previews for the first round of the region 3-AAAAA tournament.