State Softball Roundup: Ridgeland, LaFayette fall to state-ranked opponents
A season that exceeded some preseason expectations came to a close for the Ridgeland Lady Panthers in Carrollton last week.
Ridgeland, despite the graduation of their top two pitchers from a year ago, surprised some by repeating as Region 6-AAAA regular season champions. A potent Lady Panthers’ offense provided a ton of run support all season long for sophomore pitcher Hailey Carroll, who improved to the point that she was named to the All-Region first team.
However, the No. 4-ranked Lady Panthers only placed third in the always-tough region tournament behind red-hot Heritage and runner-up Northwest Whitfield, who still currently holds the No. 1 spot in the state rankings despite not winning the region crown.
That No. 3 seed meant a first-round state tournament series at No. 10 Central-Carroll, who placed second out of an equally-tough Region 5.
Ridgeland dominated Game 1 on Wednesday, blasting the Lady Lions, 13-0, before Central responded with an equally-surprising 20-5 rout in the nightcap. Central then opened up a 9-0 lead in Game 3 on Thursday before holding on for a 9-5 victory.
Ridgeland 13, Central 0
A pair of five-run innings, one in the second and one in the fifth, were more than enough as Carroll limited the hosts to just three hits and one walk for the game.
Katie Davis had a two-run homered and ignited the offense as she added a double and drove in five runs. Haley Sandridge had a double and a homer, scored three runs and drove in four. Whitney Boehm collected two RBI. Ciera Foster and Erin Hughes each had one RBI, while Laine Hicks and Katie Carruth had two hits apiece.
Central 20, Ridgeland 5
The Lady Lions, playing as the visitors in Game 2, held a comfortable 7-1 lead after three innings, but made absolutely sure of the victory by scoring six in the fourth inning and seven more in the fifth as the game ended on the run rule.
Carroll lasted just three innings as Kelsey Adams and Cameron Massey appeared in spot duty.
Ciera Foster and Kiera Foster were offensive bright spots. Ciera was 3-for-3 with two doubles, a run and an RBI, while Kiera was 1-for-2, drove in two and scored once. Boehm and Hicks each recorded one RBI.
Central 9, Ridgeland 5
The Lady Lions, playing as the visiting team again after losing the coin toss, scored three times in the first inning and added two in each of the next three innings to race out to a 9-0 lead.
Ridgeland would battle back. Getting homeruns from Davis and Kiera Foster, the Lady Panthers plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth and two in the seventh, but got no closer.
Foster and Davis each had two hits. Foster drove in three runs, while Davis was credited with two RBIs. Sandridge and Ciera Foster also had two hits, while Boehm and Grayson James had one hit each. Carroll took the loss in the circle.
The Lady Panthers, who will graduate four seniors from this year’s team, finished with a 21-7 overall record.
LaFayette swept at Chapel Hill
With a handful of NCAA Division I commitments on their roster and at least one SEC coach in attendance watching the game, the eighth-ranked Chapel Hill Lady Panthers ended a solid season for LaFayette, 9-1 and 9-6.
Shelby Adkins and Ashton Stalling both hit their first homers of the season for the seniorless Lady Ramblers, who opened their first season under new head coach Meagan Base with 12 straight wins and a No. 2 state ranking before finishing with an overall record of 17-12.
No further details were provided as of press time.
Top-ranked Northwest Whitfield also advanced to the next round with a 10-1, 6-2 sweep of Troup.
The Lady Bruins will play at Region 8 champion and sevenranked Jefferson this week.