Cal­houn comes back to get mo­men­tum-build­ing win vs. ri­val

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS SATURDAY - By Alex Far­rer

The Cal­houn Lady Jack­ets have had sev­eral close games that they found them­selves on the wrong end of this sea­son, in­clud­ing three one-run losses in the last week alone. So they needed a gutsy, come­back win to build a lit­tle con­fi­dence and mo­men­tum as they ap­proach the end of the reg­u­lar sea­son and start of the re­gion play­offs, and that’s what they got on Wed­nes­day.

Cal­houn’s Blair Hall came through in a clutch sit­u­a­tion in the bot­tom of the sixth to turn a onerun deficit into a 3-2 lead thanks to an RBI-sin­gle up the mid­dle which proved to be the dif­fer­ence in her team’s 3-2 vic­tory at home over ri­val Sono­rav­ille.

The Lady Jack­ets (156, 4-3 sub­re­gion) trailed 2-1 af­ter four in­nings as Sono­rav­ille were able to push a cou­ple runs across thanks to timely hits, but Cal­houn fresh­man Mag­gie McBrayer held them right there, and her of­fense fi­nally put her back in con­trol thanks to Hall’s big hit that brought home Car­lie Hen­der­son for the ty­ing run and cour­tesy run­ner El­iz­a­beth Pey­ton right be­hind her for the even­tual game-win­ning run.

Cal­houn coach Diane Smith said this was the kind of win they needed, espe­cially against a tal­ented team like Sono­rav­ille, who beat the Lady Jack­ets 4-0 a few weeks ago.

“This should re­ally get our mo­men­tum go­ing,” said Smith. “We needed that. We’ve lost six games this year and four of them have been by one run. We have not played a team that I felt was hands-down more tal­ented than us…it just seems like we’ll get in a sit­u­a­tion where we can score, but we haven’t been get­ting those runs across the plate. But tonight we got the job done.

“This showed the girls that we can beat any­body in this re­gion, sub­re­gion or I think in the state. Sono­rav­ille is a re­ally good ball team, I don’t take any­thing away from them. But now we split with them in the reg­u­lar sea­son, and we might see them again in the re­gion tour­na­ment. The team that wins that one is the one that re­ally counts the most.”

Sono­rav­ille ( 14- 11, 7-1), who clinched the No. 1 seed out of Re­gion 6-AAA South on Tues­day thanks to a dou­ble­header sweep over Adairsville, took the quick lead quickly on Wed­nes­day thanks to an RBI-dou­ble by Grif­fin Holden in the first in­ning to bring home Har­leigh Chas­tain, who led off the game with a sin­gle.

Af­ter Cal­houn quickly evened things up in the bot­tom half of the first on an RBI-ground­out by Lyndi Rae Davis, the two pitch­ers, McBrayer and Sono­rav­ille’s Kris­ten Davis, set­tled in and were strong in the cir­cle. Sono­rav­ille took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on an RBI-sin­gle by Alyssa Hughes.

But af­ter Davis si­lenced the Cal­houn’s bats for much of the night, they fi­nally came through in the sixth. Hen­der­son led off the in­ning with a sin­gle and was then sac­ri­ficed to sec­ond by Erin Barnes. Davis then hit a long fly ball to left field that fell for a dou­ble, push­ing Hen­der­son to third, and Hall stepped to the plate and ripped a sin­gle up the mid­dle for the clutch, game-win­ning hit.

Sono­rav­ille coach Chad Hayes said it was a well-played and well­pitched game by both teams, and he was dis­ap­pointed that his team came up a lit­tle short but with the No. 1 seed from the sub­re­gion al­ready in their grasp, they are fo­cused on what they can do in the post­sea­son.

“To­day was to re­ally good teams go­ing at it,” said Hayes. “I feel like we’re the two best teams in the re­gion, north or south. Ob­vi­ously you want to win that game, but we didn’t put enough balls in play tonight. I think if we put a few more in play when we have run­ners on, we prob­a­bly win that game. But we didn’t, and they took ad­van­tage with some big hits there in the sixth and that was the dif­fer­ence in the game.

“I feel good about this team though go­ing for­ward. We can’t let this one af­fect us too much. The one thing I know is that we’ve been in close games, and we know how to win them. I’m very con­fi­dent in this team, and I don’t think this game car­ries over. We’ve got to play our game and not make mis­takes, and if we do that, I don’t think there are many teams that can beat us.”

It seemed like McBrayer and Davis went in­ning for in­ning in Wed­nes­day’s game, each keep­ing the pres­sure on the op­pos­ing team’s lineup and mak­ing ev­ery­thing dif­fi­cult at the plate. McBrayer earned the win, go­ing seven in­nings and giv­ing up two runs on six hits while strik­ing out 10 bat­ters. She closed the game out by strik­ing out the side in or­der in the sev­enth.

“My fresh­man pitcher did an out­stand­ing job to­day,” said Smith. “There has been a cou­ple of games this year where she gave up an early run and got down on her­self a lit­tle. I’ve told her you have to be tough out there and dig down deep. We all have con­fi­dence in her, and she needs to have more con­fi­dence in her­self. She showed that tonight and took care of busi­ness.”

Davis took the tough­luck loss de­spite hold­ing the lead for her team much of the game. She went six in­nings and gave up three runs on four hits while strik­ing out nine. The ju­nior didn’t al­low a hit to the Jack­ets un­til the fifth in­ning. Davis also was the lone player for ei­ther team to have mul­ti­ple hits as she fin­ished 2-for3 with a dou­ble at the plate. Chas­tain, Holden, Hughes and Grace Fitzwa­ter also had hits for Sono­rav­ille.

Hen­der­son had a hit and scored two runs for Cal­houn, and Hall and Davis ac­counted for all three RBIs. Jor­dan Blair was the only other Lady Jacket with a hit.

Sono­rav­ille will now wait for their op­po­nent for the first round of the Re­gion 6-AAA Play­offs on Tues­day as they will host the No. 4 seed from Re­gion 6-AAA North in a best 2-of-3 se­ries with Game 3 be­ing held on Wed­nes­day if nec­es­sary.

Cal­houn was back at home on Thurs­day to host Adairsville in their fi­nal sub­re­gion game. (For de­tails on that game, see Wed­nes­day’s Cal­houn Times.) They needed a win and a Bre­men loss to Har­al­son County on Thurs­day to claim the No. 2 seed in the sub­re­gion out­right. If both won, they would fin­ish in a tie for sec­ond, and a tiebreaker would de­ter­mine, which got the No. 2 spot and the right to host the No. 3 seed from Re­gion 6-AAA North on Tues­day. No mat­ter what hap­pens, Smith said she feels good about her team now that the pres­sure is go­ing to turn up.

“I feel re­ally good about our team,” said Smith. “We want a good show­ing against Adairsville and this week­end at the Grayson Tour­na­ment, but the games on Tues­day are the ones that re­ally mat­ter. If we don’t win those two, our sea­son is over. I’m con­fi­dent we will rise to the chal­lenge though.”

The Lady Jack­ets will com­pete in the Grayson Tour­na­ment at Bu­ford on Satur­day for one more warm-up be­fore the Re­gion 6-AAA Play­offs be­gin on Tues­day. On Satur­day, they will play East Coweta at 11 a.m. and Bu­ford at 1 p.m.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Cal­houn’s El­iz­a­beth Pey­ton (left) slides home for the even­tual game-win­ning run past Sono­rav­ille catcher San­dra Beth Pritch­ett in the sixth in­ning.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Cal­houn pitcher Mag­gie McBrayer (left) throws to first base­man Blair Hall for an out on Wed­nes­day.

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