Last Thursday’s Jeff Davis-Vidalia softball game was a classic: the No. 1 (Vidalia) and No. 2 (Jeff Davis) Class AA teams in the state squaring off for the rubber game of the season’s 3-game series.
The Jackets won the first game 4-1 Aug. 19 in Hazlehurst and the Lady Indians won the second game 3-1 Sept. 7 in Vidalia. Last Thursday the two teams met in Hazlehurst with two of the best Class AA pitchers in the state on the mound: junior Kelsey Parlor for the Lady Jackets and senior Bailey Holland for the Lady Indians.
When the dust cleared, Vidalia came out on top 1-0, scoring an unearned run in the fifth inning.
Saturday, the Lady Jackets went on the road to face a pair of powerhouse teams, The Lovett School and fourth ranked Heard County, the defending Class AA State Champions.
The Lady Jackets rolled over Lovett 12-2 in six innings behind the 4-hit performance of Ella Wood but fell to Heard 6-1.
And Monday, the Lady Jackets swept a double header over East Laurens, 9-0 and 9-1.
In the Vidalia game, Holland had a no-hitter going into the bottom of the final inning but her travel ball teammate, the Lady Jackets’ Jaci Underwood, spoiled the no-hitter with a 1-out single on a hard-hit grounder up the middle. Underwood advanced to second on a Maeleigh Burns ground out to put the tying run in scoring position. But Holland struck out the next batter to end the game.
Holland, who the Lady Jackets defeated in their Aug. 19 win, was dominant. She did not walk a batter and struck out 12. She retired the first 10 batters she faced and, after JD’s Ella Wood reached first on an error in the fourth, she sat down the next nine batters in a row until Underwood’s final inning single. She struck out the side in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
Parlor also had an excellent day on the mound, throwing a 4-hitter and not giving up an earned run. She gave up four walks and struck out seven.
Vidalia’s run came in the fifth after Parlor had retired the first two batters in the inning. The next batter hit a towering, long ball to the wall in deep center and was safe on an error. The batter reached third. Holland followed with a double to drive home what would be the winning — and only — run of the game.
Against Lovett, Wood’s 1-out double in the first and a double by Underwood put JD up 1-0. After a Burns single, Underwood scored on an error.
The Lady Jackets made it 4-0 in the second. Bentlee Metts led off with a single and, an out later, Jenna Miles and Wood singled to load the bases. Underwood followed with a single to score Metts but Miles was thrown out trying to score. Wood scored on a 2-base error to make it 4-0.
After Lovett cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, Jeff Davis got the two runs back in the fourth. Wood led off the inning with a triple. After Underwood walked, Wood scored on a wild pitch. Underwood made her way to third and scored on an Analese Poole sacrifice fly to make it 6-2.
The Lady Jackets blew the game open in the sixth with six runs. Wood singled, Underwood doubled, Burns walked and Peyton Thigpen followed with a 2-run single. After Sellers walked to load the bases again, Caitlyn Banks’ 2-run single made it 10-2. Laisha Hernandez singled in a run and scored later as Miles reached on an error.
Jeff Davis had 16 hits led by Wood’s two singles, a double and a triple. Underwood and Metts both had three hits. Underwood had a single, two doubles and two RBI, and Metts had a trio of singles. Banks doubled in two runs, Thigpen had a single and two RBI, Hernandez singled in a run, and Miles and Burns added singles.
Parlor was the winning pitcher, going six innings and allowing two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out eight.
Jeff Davis couldn’t get the bats working against Heard as they managed only five hits and one run.
The JD run came in the fourth as Underwood began the inning with a double, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
Underwood and Thigpen both had a pair of hits. Underwood had a single and a double, Thigpen two singles, and Hernandez added a single.
Parlor picked up the loss. She went five innings, giving up six runs on 11 hits, walking none and striking out two. Underwood pitched the final inning, blanking Heard on no hits and a walk.
In the first game of Monday’s twin bill, JD blew open a scoreless tie in the fourth with a 6-run inning as they cruised to the 9-0 win.
Five hits and two walks keyed the Jeff Davis fourth. The big blows were a 2-run double by Wood and a 2-run triple by Underwood.
The Lady Jackets added three more in the sixth. Two runs scored as Alicia Lilliott was safe on a pop-up error to center and Hernandez plated the other run with a bases-loaded single.
Hernandez had a career-best day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a walk and driving in a run. Underwood had a 2-run triple, Wood had a 2-run double, Burns, Poole, Lilliott, Sellers and Caitlyn Banks all had singles. Miles and Thigpen drove in runs.
Parlor threw a 2-hit shutout, walking one, hitting one and fanning 12.
Underwood had a career performance in the nightcap. She pitched a 2-hitter, had a double, a triple and a homer at the plate, driving in four runs, and began a double play. Her double in the bottom of the fifth drove in a run and ended the game by the run rule.
The double play came in the top of the first inning as Underwood walked the first batter who stole second and third. With one out, Underwood fielded a grounder on the mound, threw to Parlor at first who fired to catcher Burns at home who tagged out the runner trying to score from third.
Underwood’s first inning triple got the Lady Jackets on the board in the bottom of the first. After a pair of walks, Banks singled to drive in two runs, making it 3-0.
A Miles triple and Wood single made it 4-0 in the second.
Wood drove in another run with a double in the fourth and Underwood followed with a 2-run homer to up the score to 7-1. Banks followed later with a single for her third RBI and an 8-1 lead.
In the fifth, Miles walked, Wood singled and Underwood doubled to end the game.
Like Underwood, Wood had three hits with two singles, a double and two RBI. Banks singled twice and drove in three runs, and Miles had a single and a triple.
Underwood gave up one run on two hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out one.
Score by innings:
VHS 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -1
JDHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
JDHS 2 2 0 2 0 6 -12
TLS 0 0 2 0 0 0 – 2
JDHS 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 -1
HCHS 1 1 2 0 2 0 x -6
JDHS 0 0 0 6 0 3 -9
ELHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
ELHS 0 0 0 1 0 -1
JDHS 3 1 0 4 1 -9