Lady Bucs win to secure playoff berth
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
October 03, 2013 12:33 PM | 1227 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ACWORTH — Allatoona scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, breaking a 1-all tie, and went on to defeat South Paulding 7-1 on Thursday in a winners’ bracket semifinal-round game of the Region 5AAAAA tournament.

Ten batters came to the plate for the top-seeded Lady Buccaneers (23-7) in the inning. Allatoona scored its runs off six hits, an error and a sacrifice bunt.

The victory assured the defending Region 5AAAAA champion of its fourth straight state playoff berth.

Allatoona has won eight straight games, outscoring its opponents 58-11 during that span.

Elisabeth Federici went 3-for-3 with a double, walk, three RBIs and a run scored. Dani Lewis was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. Erika Dunbar and Madison Halyard each had an RBI for Allatoona, which had 12 hits on the night. Hailey Reagor batted 2-for-3 with a run scored.

“We’re really excited to get this win and move forward through the tournament,” Federici said. “We have a lot of momentum going right now and the team is getting hits and picking people up when we make errors. We want to win another region championship, and now we’re closer to that goal.”

The game proved to be a pitchers’ duel through the first five innings.

Fifth-seeded South Paulding (16-12) scored first after AnnDee Priest hit a two-out double to right field, scoring Caelyn Elwin from first.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, and stranding a runner on second in the second, Allatoona collected the tying run in the third. Lewis walked, reached second on Reagor’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Federici’s single.

Neither team got anything going in the fourth and fifth innings, and South Paulding’s Kayla Gibson was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double, for the Lady Spartans’ final out of the sixth.

The Lady Buccaneers built some momentum in their half of the sixth and took control of the game.

After Morgan Kazerooni led off with a single, a throwing error on Williams’ at-bat plated Kazerooni with the go-ahead run and allowed Williams to move all the way to third. Halyard’s single scored Williams, and Lewis’ two-out single plated Halyard for a 4-1 margin.

The two-out hits kept coming for Allatoona as Reagor, Federici and Dunbar all reached base. Federici’s double scored Lewis and Reagor, while Dunbar’s RBI single plated Federici for the 7-1 margin.

Allatoona’s Makenzie Colwart faced four batters in the seventh to finish the game. She allowed one earned run on six hits, while striking out two in a complete game.

South Paulding’s Madason Messer gave up seven runs — two earned — on 12 hits in six innings pitched.

Priest batted 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for the Lady Spartans, while Kayla Gibson also had two singles.

Allatoona will host Paulding County in the winners’ bracket final Monday. A win would advance the Lady Buccaneers into a championship game with the losers’ bracket survivor Thursday.

“That’s the second time in a row South Paulding scored on us in the first inning, but our kids responded once again,” Allatoona coach Troy Pirkle said. “These girls are unfazed by pressure. If we play good defense and throw some good pitches, we feel like we can score.

“We got into a rhythm in the sixth. That’s a credit to the girls. They know that, if there are still outs left on the board, then we have a chance. Everybody is doing their part to help the team win.”
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