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Sunday July 3rd, 2022 11:41PM

Softball playoffs: Jefferson stays alive; Branch makes history; Union Co., Buford sweep into Elite 8

By AccessWDUN Staff

PERRY — For the first time in program history, the Flowery Branch girls softball team advanced to the Elite 8.

The Lady Falcons swept Perry 13-0 and 8-3 in the second round of the Class 4A tournament on the road.

Branch next will take on Northwest Whitfield in the opening round of the double-elimination, round robin tournament, which begins Oct. 28.

The Falcons brought the offense, collecting 33 hits in the two games. MaKaela Davis, Ciera Poole, and Abby Gray each had multiple hits in both games.

Savanna Rutledge, Alyssa Wagner, Maddie Timms, and Avery Thomas all had multiple hits in the first game. Casey Beaver had multiple hits in the second game as well.

Nikki Harris got the win in the first game striking out 6 in a four-inning opening game. Wagner got the win in the second game allowing just two runs in 2 1/3 innings.

The Lady Falcons were one of three Region 8-4A teams to advance to Columbus. A fourth, Jefferson, split a pair of games with West Laurens to force a Game 3 on Wednesday. Jefferson dropped the opener 5-0 before rallying to tie the best-of-three seris with a 6-3 win in Game 2.


JEFFERSON 0-6
WEST LAURENS 5-3

The Lady Dragons staved off elimination after the first game of their second round series in Dublin.

West Laurens, a semifinalist in 2020, opened with a two-hit shutout in Game 1, just the second time the Lady Dragons had been held scoreless in 2021.

But Jefferson rallied behind pitcher Ravyn Saxon to even the series. Saxon went four innings allowing two runs on four hits. Taylor Spivey pitched the final three innings giving up one unearned run on just two hits to get the save.

Audrey Burton and Madison Hanchey each had two RBI for the Lady Dragons (16-10) in Game 2.

The two teams will play a deciding Game 3 at 4:30 p.m. in Dublin on Wednesday.

Central-Carroll awaits the winner in the first round of the Elite 8 tournament next week.


UNION COUNTY 9-13
TOOMBS COUNTY 4-7

Union County advanced to the Elite 8 in the Class 2A tournament.

The Lady Panthers won 9-4 in the first game and then rallied from behind twice to win the second game, 13-7.

Union County moves on to Columbus and will take on Dade County in the opening round.

Also in the Class 2A tournament, Region 8-2A champ Banks County was knocked out by Jeff Davis, 2-0 and 8-0, in the second round.


BUFORD 9-6
EFFINGHAM COUNTY 0-0

For the 17th consecutive season the Lady Wolves advanced to the Elite 8 and Columbus.

Buford has outscored its first two opponents 31-4 in the Class 6A tournament.

Junior Olivia Duncan throws no-hitter in Game 1, which was called after 5 innings due to the run rule.

Junior Emma Castorri, sophomore Adriana Martinez, and senior Olivia Haag all had two RBI in the first game.

In the second game, sophomore Emma Grace Williams remained undefeated on the season, throwing a complete-game shutout.Martinez and fellow sophomore Mackenzie Pickens both belted home runs.

 Senior Malvin Taylor had a huge day for the Lady Wolves. Taylor went 6-for-6 with a double, two RBIs, 4 runs scored, and 3 stolen bases in the series.

The Lady Wolves will take on Cambridge in the first round of the Elite 8 tournament.


STARR’S MILL 7-5
JACKSON COUNTY 0-2

The Lady Panthers bid to advance to Columbus and the Elite 8 came to an end on Tuesday in the second round of the Class 5A tournament.

Jackson County was the No. 4 seed out of Region 8-5A and took out Region 6-5A champion North Sprigs in the first round.

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