Elimination games on the road went well for South Fulton last week.
Now, the Red Devilettes get the ultimate road trip.
SF won its second elimination game of the week on Saturday evening, beating Riverside 3-2 with a run in the top of the seventh inning of their Class A softball sectional at the Decatur County school’s park.
That win, coming after a victory over Huntingdon in the regional semifinals on Monday and then a loss to Union City in the regional finals Wednesday, earned South Fulton its seventh trip to the TSSAA Class A State Tournament as part of the Spring Fling in Murfreesboro this week.
SF opens play in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament 4 p.m. Tuesday against Richland (26-10-1).
For veteran Devilette head coach Curt Lee, who has skippered the Devilettes to all of their state appearances in 15 years at the helm, Saturday’s win was the high point, so far, in an otherwise up-and-down season.
“I think it is,” Lee said, declaring this state tournament trip as perhaps more significant than others in the program’s history. “It gives us a little closure to an inconsistent season. It gets us some confidence back and some pride back on those uniforms. We’ve just been able to hang around long enough to get a big win in the postseason. That could wake them up.
“I know it’s made me feel a lot better about this year.”
Winning pitcher Sara Reams helped herself in a big way with the game-winning hit in the seventh inning.
After Sierra Coley led off with a walk pinch-hitting for Aariel Wright, and then Wright re-entered for her speed, SF found itself down to its last out of the frame following a pop-up on a bunt attempt and a strikeout.
But, then Reams ripped a double off the wall in leftfield to bring home Wright with the winning run.
That score broke a 2-all tie as SF had taken a lead with two runs in the second inning, only to see Riverside get those runs back in the fifth, errors playing a big role in both outbursts.
Held to just two hits, the Devilettes took advantage of two errors and timely walks from the Lady Panthers to push across two runs in the second inning.
Landry Webster opened the inning with a walk, and then SF had runners on second and third when Cassidy Ruddle’s bunt attempt was misplayed.
Kristen Crocker grounded out to score Webster, and Desiray Sturgeon drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to send home another run.
Three Riverside hits and two SF errors allowed the Lady Panthers to tie the game in the fifth frame.
“We played pretty steady, except for one inning,” Lee said. “Sara pitched well again for us. She got a lot of pop-ups, like she did against Huntingdon. She was able to get in on their hands pretty good.”
Reams tossed a six-hitter, striking out four and walking three against last year’s state runner-up.
Published in The Messenger 5.20.13