Jeff Davis High’s softball team earned a chance to repeat as Class 2A State Champion as they emerged from the Super Regional in Macon last week with three straight wins.
The Lady Jackets defeated T.W. Josey High School of Augusta 16-3 in four innings with only four hits, blanked host ACE Charter 6-0 and then downed Pierce County 3-1 in the finals.
Lady Jacket catcher Kalleigh Sellers had a double and four RBI to lead Jeff Davis’ win over Josey. Coach Steven Wilcox gave No. 1 pitcher sophomore Carrie Ellen Arnold a rest as he started freshman Jaqueline Villasenor on the mound and she pitched two innings of no-run, no-hit ball. Sophomore Cori Mims took the mound in the third and also blanked Josey on no hits. Senior Addison Brewer got her first time pitching in the fourth and gave up two earned runs on three hits.
The Lady Jackets, playing as the home team, got four runs in the first inning without a hit. The first five JD players reached first base on free passes. Kira Buford was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the first run. Ella Wood then got a base-loaded walk to make it 2-0. Cori Mims drove in a run with a ground out and Sellers drove in a run with a fly out to left.
Josey got the first two batters out in the second but then Jenna Miles walked and took second and third on a wild pitch. Jaci Underwood reached first on an error as Miles scored. Claire Stinson followed with a single to make it 6-0.
The Lady Jackets scored eight runs in the bottom of the third on four walks, a hit batter, an error, singles by Mims and Madison Joyce and a double by Sellers.
Brewer went to the mound in the fourth and the first batter greeted her with a triple. She gave up a pair of singles and the Lady Eagles threatened to score more but catcher Sellers threw out a runner trying to steal third to end the threat.
JD closed out the game by the run rule in the bottom of the fourth with two walks, three hit batters and a wild pitch.
Backing up Sellers, were Joyce with a single and three RBI, Mims and Stinson with a single and an RBI, and Miles, Wood, Brewer and Riley Hughes with an RBI each.
Neither Mims or Villasenor allowed a runner over the first three innings. Mims struck out two, Villasenor three and Brewer two.
The ACE game was a nail-biter until the final innings. The Lady Jackets scored one in the first, two in the fourth and entered the top of the seventh clinging to a 3-0 lead.
In the seventh, Miles got a run-scoring triple to make it 4-0 and Underwood followed with a towering homer over the right field fence to make it 6-0 and give the Jackets room to catch their breath.
Miles was hit by a pitch to start the ACE game. After Miles stole second, she went to third on an Underwood ground out and scored on a wild pitch to give Jeff Davis a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, Ava Bohannon singled and Alera Vann came on to run for Bohannon. Vann took second on a wild pitch and scored on an Arnold single. Wyatt came on to run for Arnold, went to third on a Buford single and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
Meanwhile, Arnold kept the Lady Gryphons off balance all evening.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: What is a Gryphon? A Gryphon has its roots in Grecian, Latin and Old French folklore. It is a creature with the body, tail and back legs of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle with its talons on the front legs.]
She apparently discovered the ACE batters loved high heat but they couldn’t hit such pitches.
Arnold retired the Lady Gryphons in order in the first, and ACE’s first baserunner reached in the second on a dropped third strike.
In the third, ACE threatened with a pair of singles. With runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out, Arnold fielded a grounder to the mound and alertly got the lead runner with a throw to Underwood at third. Then the next batter also grounded to the mound and Arnold threw to first to end the inning.
Arnold again retired the side in order in the fourth. In the fifth, a one-out double and a wild pitch put a runner at third. But Arnold struck out the next batter and got the final out on another grounder to the mound.
In the sixth, a single and a walk put runners on 1st and 2nd with two out and the next batter hit grounder to Miles at short and she threw to Mims at second for the force out.
After the Lady Jackets’ big, 3-run top of the seventh, the Gryphons got a 1-out single but Arnold got a pop-up and a ground out to end the game.
Underwood’s 2-run homer topped the Lady Jacket offense. Miles had a triple and an RBI, Arnold had a single and an RBI, and Bohannon, Mims and Buford added singles.
Arnold went the distance on the mound, blanking ACE on five hits, a walk and 10 strikeouts.
The Super Regional finale, was a pitchers’ duel between Jeff Davis’ Villasenor and Arnold, and Pierce’s Taylor Tomlinson. Both teams managed only four hits but the Lady Jackets got the most of a double by Bentlee Metts and singles by Miles, Bohannon and Laisha Hernandex.
All three JD runs came in the bottom of the second with two outs. Metts opened the action with a 2-out double. Hernandez was hit by a pitch and Miles hit a grounder up the middle to score Metts and push Hernandez to third. Then Underwood hit a hard ground ball that the shortstop couldn’t handle and both Metts and Hernandez scored.
Villasenor retired the first eight batters she faced until giving up a ground ball single in the third.
In the fourth, Villasenor gave up a walk and a single. But an infield fly, a fielder’s choice grounder and a fly out to Metts in center ended the inning.
When Villasenor started the fifth yielding a walk and a single, Head Coach Steven Wilcox called Arnold to the mound. A sacrifice bunt put runners at 2nd and 3rd and the next batter grounded to third and Underwood threw to home to get the out at the plate. After a walk loaded the bases, the next batter grounded to Mims at second who threw to Miles to get the final out at second.
The Lady Bears got a single run in the top of the final inning thanks to a pair of Lady Jacket fielding errors.
Villasenor went four innings, giving up no runs on three hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Arnold pitched three innings, giving up an unearned run on one hit, two walks and no strikeouts.
Pierce’s Tomlinson gave up only one earned run.
Score by innings:
TWJ 0 0 0 3 – 3
JDHS 4 2 8 2 -16
JDHS 1 0 0 2 0 0 3 -6
ACE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
PCHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -1
JDHS 0 3 0 0 0 0 x -3