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Lady Jackets are state runner-ups

Jeff Davis High came agonizingly close to repeating as the Class AA Softball State Champions last week, falling 4-3 to Appling County in the finals of the state tournament in Columbus.
Jeff Davis finished the season with a 31-5 record while Appling finished with a 21-7-1 mark.
It was an all Altamaha River finals as the Jeff Davis and Appling are neighboring counties with the schools located some 17 miles apart.
The two teams played against each other in the second round of the tournament as the No. 1 ranked Lady Jackets from Hazlehurst topped the No. 2 ranked Lady Jackets from Rockmart 5-1 in the opening round while the Lady Pirates of Baxley routed Eagles Landing Christian Academy 14-1. Appling took at 9-5 win over Jeff Davis in the second round, dropping the Lady Jackets into the losers bracket.
The Jackets then defeated Toombs County, another Altamaha River team, 15-7 and, once again playing an area team, topped Vidalia 8-1. Meanwhile, Appling squeaked by Banks County 2-1, sending Banks to the losers bracket to face Jeff Davis. The Lady Jackets downed Banks 11-5 to set up the finals showdown between Appling and Jeff Davis.
Appling County got a solo homer from pitcher Peyton Harrison, the daughter Cole Harrison, owner of Fales Furniture Co. in Hazlehurst, to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Lady Pirates added two runs in the bottom of the third to take a 3-0 lead.
But JD fought back. In the top of the fourth, Jaci Underwood led off with a single and went to second on Claire Stinson’s ground out. Kalleigh Sellers then singled to left and Underwood scored from second to cut the lead to 3-1. An Ella Wood single then loaded the bases with only one out. But Carrie Ellen Arnold’s grounder to third forced out pinch runner Brylee Wyatt at the plate, leaving the bases loaded with two outs. A 3-pitch strikeout ended the inning.
The score remained 3-1 entering the fifth when Laisha Hernandez led off the inning with a line-drive single and Jenna Miles followed with a 2-run shot over the center field fence to tie the game 3-3.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Lady Pirates got an unearned run to take a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh, JD got another chance. Hernandez again led off the inning with a single. But Miles struck out on a 3-2 pitch and Underwood hit a liner to Harrison on the mound. Harrison threw to first to double up Hernandez who couldn’t get back to the base in time.
Both teams had seven hits and three earned runs in the game.
For the tournament, Laisha Hernandez’ bat came to life as she led the team in hits with 10 — 8 singles and 2 doubles — and four RBI.
Senior Jaci Underwood and freshman Ava Bohannon led the team in total bases with 17 and 16 respectively. Underwood had 4 singles, a double, a triple, 2 home runs and six RBI. Bohannon had 4 singles, 3 homers and seven RBI.
Although batting as the lead-off hitter, senior Miles led the Lady Jackets in RBI with eight. She had three singles, two doubles and a homer. Senior Ella Wood also had a hot bat as she had seven hits — six singles and a triple — and 5 RBI.
For the tournament, the Lady Jackets had 10 home runs, three by Bohannon, two by Underwood, and one each by Miles, Cori Mims, Claire Stinson, Kalleigh Sellers and Bentlee Metts.
On the mound, sophomore Carrie Ellen Arnold had two complete game wins, against Rockmart and Vidalia. She pitched a total of 22 2/3 innings, giving up 15 earned runs, while freshman lefty Jaqueline Villasenor pitched 16 1/3 innings, yielding just four earned runs. Arnold had 11 strikeouts and 9 walks, while Villasenor fanned 16 and walked 14.
Score by innings:
RHS 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -1
JDHS 0 0 1 4 0 0 x -5
JDHS 0 2 1 0 2 0 0 -5
ACHS 5 1 0 2 0 1 x -9
JDHS 4 4 0 3 2 2 -15
TCHS 0 0 1 5 0 1 –  7
VHS 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -1
JDHS 0 0 1 2 1 43 x -8
BCHS 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 –  5
JDHS 0 0 1 1 3 6 x -11
JDHS 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 -3
ACHS 1 0 2 0 0 1 x -4

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