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Saturday October 16th, 2021 8:07AM

Softball playoffs: Branch, Jackson Co. help lead region sweeps in 1st round

By AccessWDUN Staff

ATLANTA — Five Northeast Georgia area softball teams moved on to the second round of the Georgia High School Association playoffs on Tuesday.

Seven more area teams, including Class 6A No. 1 Buford, also have a chance to move on Wednesday as their best-of-three series get under way,

Nikki Harris and Alyssa Wagner each pitched complete games to lead Flowery Branch to 2-0 sweep of Region 6-4A champion Marist on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 4A girls softball tournament.

The Lady Falcons, the No. 4 seed from Region 8-4A, were part of a sweep for 8-4A over Region 6-4A in the opening round.

Jefferson, the No. 3 seed from 8-4A, also rolled into the second round with a 16-4 and 12-3 pummeling of Arabia Mountain on the road as well.

Harris got the win in the first game, going the distance allowing just two runs and striking out 10. Wagner picked up the win in the second game also going the distance and striking out seven.

Casey Beaver led the Branch offense with four hits and two RBI in the doubleheader. Zoe Johnston-Hadaway, Savanna Rutledge, Wagner, Avery Thomas and Abby Gray all had one hit in the opening game. Thomas had two RBI and Gray one for the Lady Falcons. In the second game, Wagner and Maddie Timms both each had one hit.

In other action around the area, in Class 6A, Habersham Central was swept out by Region 6-6A champ Pope while Buford and Kell were set to meet in Buford in their first round matchup.

In Class 5A, Jackson County, the No. 4 seed from Region 8-5A, took out Region 6-5A champion North Springs with a 12-0, 6-1 sweep in Sandy Springs. The Lady Panthers will travel to Starr's Mill in the second round. Region 8-5A sent all four teams into the second round.

In Class 3A, Region 7-3A fourth seed Dawson County took down Region 5-3A No. 1 seed Westminster 8-2 and 6-1 in Atlanta. 

White County, East Forsyth, and Cherokee Bluff all will try to move on to the second round out Region 7-3A. East Jackson out of Region 8-3A also is in action in the opening round.

In Class 2A, Region 8-2A champion Banks County rolled into the second round with a 15-0 and 18-0 whitewash of C.S. King. Union County split with Pace Academy with the Lady Panthers winning the first game, 7-4, but dropping the second game, 21-13.

Rabun County, however, was knocked out 9-5 and 13-1 by Region 6-2A champion Lovett.

In Class A Public, Commerce, the No. 2 seed from Region 8-A Public, takes on Armuchee in the first round.

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