Jeff Davis High School’s softball team won all three games in the first, four-team, double-elimination state playoff tournament last week in Hazlehurst and will play this week in the Elite 8 in Columbus.
The Lady Jackets rolled over Central, Macon, 16-1 in the opening game, squeaked by Vidalia 1-0 in the second game and rolled to a 9-0 win over Vidalia in the finals. The games left Jeff Davis with a 30-1 record.
JD wasted little time setting the tone in the game against Central as they sent 19 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning to take a 13-0 lead.
Peyton Thigpen keyed the 13-run outburst with a single, a double and four RBI. Ella Wood had a single, a double and two RBI, Cori Mims singled twice and drove in a run, Maeleigh Burns had a single and three RBI, Analese Poole had a 2-run single, and Bentlee Metts added a single and a bases-loaded walk for an RBI.
After giving up a lead-off single to the first batter of the game, Lady Jacket pitcher Kelsey Parlor retired the next three batters in a row, two by strikeout.
In the second, Carrie Ellen Arnold took the mound and struck out the side.
A Burns triple and a Poole single in the second upped JD’s lead to 14-0.
In the third, Burns came on to pitch, retiring the first two batters she faced. But an error led to an unearned run for Central on a steal of home.
In the third, the Lady Jackets ended the game by the run rule as Alera Vann and Kira Buford walked and Emma McEachin followed with a 2-run triple to push the lead to 18 at 19-1.
Five Lady Jackets had two hits each, led by Thigpen with a single, a double and four RBI, Burns with a single, a triple and three RBI, and Poole with a pair of singles and three RBI. Wood had a single, a double and two RBI, Mims had a pair of singles and one RBI, McEachin tripled and drove in two runs, and Metts had a single and an RBI.
Parlor picked up the win, pitching one inning, blanking Central on one hit, walking none and striking out three. Arnold struck out all three batters she faced in one inning on the mound. Burns gave up an unearned run on no hits, a walk and a strikeout.
Tuesday’s Jeff Davis-Vidalia match was a pitcher’s duel as Parlor pitched a 1-hit shutout and Vidalia’s Harris gave up only one run on four hits.
Jeff Davis loaded the bases in the first inning with two walks and a Jaci Underwood single but they couldn’t capitalize.
After Parlor gave up a lead-off walk in the second, she fielded a pop-up bunt and threw to Wood at first to double up the runner.
The Lady Jackets’ only run came in the third. Jenna Miles walked, went to second on a Wood ground out, and scored on an Underwood double.
From there the game was dominated by pitching and defense as neither team could score for the remainder of the game.
Underwood had two hits to lead the winners at the plate. She had a single, a double and the game-winning RBI. Thigpen and Laisha Hernandez both singled.
Parlor’s 1-hit shutout came with three walks and five strikeouts.
Parlor followed up her 1-hit shutout with a 2-hit shutout in the championship game and the defense had one of its best performances of the season, not only with individual efforts but also with a pair of double plays.
The twin killings were especially noteworthy.
The first came in the fourth as the lead-off batter walked and Underwood caught a popup and fired a rocket to Wood at first to nail the runner who had drifted off base.
In the very next inning, after a lead-off double and a strikeout, Underwood fielded a grounder, threw to Wood at first for an out and then Wood threw a strike to shortstop Miles who was covering third and Miles put the tag on the runner to complete the double play.
Perhaps the best defensive play of the game came in the third as Vidalia’s lead-off batter hit a grounder to Miles at shortstop who had to move far to her right to field the ball, then, falling away, she managed to throw a strike to first as the ball bounced three times before Wood pulled it in for the out.
The Jackets got two runs in the bottom of the first inning when Miles led off with a double and Wood followed with a run-scoring triple. After Underwood was intentionally walked and Wood was thrown out trying to steal home, Underwood stole second, third and home to make it 2-0.
The Lady Jackets blew the game wide open with a 7-run fourth inning, with four singles and Vidalia’s defense falling apart.
Metts, Hernandez, Wood, and Burns singled, and the Lady Indians committed two fielding errors and several mental errors as their hopes for a trip to Columbus were dashed.
Wood had two RBIs in the inning, Hernandez, Burns and Thigpen each drove in a run, and Vidalia errors allowed two more runs to score.
Wood led the offense with a single, a double and three RBI. Miles doubled, Hernandez and Burns both had a single and an RBI, Metts singled, and Buford and Thigpen both drove in a run.
Parlor walked two and struck out three.
Score by innings:
CHS 0 0 1 – 1
JDHS 13 1 2 -16
VHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
JDHS 0 0 1 0 0 0 x -1
VHS 0 0 0 0 0 -0
JDHS 2 0 0 7 x -9