Both of the Cartersville and Cedartown softball teams had runners on third base in the seventh inning of a game in which both Region 5-AAAA programs had squandered scoring opportunities.
This time, the Canes came through and the Bulldogs couldn't answer, as Cartersville pulled off a 5-4 road win Thursday evening.
With the score tied at 4-all, the Canes (1-1, 1-0) managed to load the bases in the final inning of regulation. Kylie Arnold was hit by a pitch before Campbell Rogers and Elizabeth Nelson reached on consecutive bunts.
Hope Short followed with a fielder's choice groundout to score the go-ahead run.
Cedartown (1-2, 0-1) had its chance to extend the game with a leadoff single in the home half of the frame. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second and a groundout sent the potential tying run to third. However, freshman pitcher McKinley Chada snagged a liner to finish off her complete-game effort.
Chada struck out four, while allowing 10 hits and three walks on 120 pitches. Only one of the four runs she gave up was earned. She also went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI.
The teams combined to leave 23 runners on base. That wastefulness helped keep the game scoreless through the first three innings despite both teams having loaded the bases in the third frame.
Cartersville finally broke the deadlock with two runs in the fourth. Campbell Rogers singled home Cio Seigler, who opened the inning with a base hit, for the game's first run. Rogers later scored on Short's two-out double.
A two-out error opened the door for the Bulldogs to post a three-run bottom half of the inning and grab a 3-2 advantage. That started a back-and-forth affair final few innings.
The Canes knotted the score in the fourth only to see the home team regain the lead in its next at bat. For Cartersville, walks to Chada and Lauren McElhaney preceded a bunt single by Seigler to load the bases. Rogers coaxed a walk to knot the game. A two-out single lifted Cedartown into the lead again.
That edge, though, proved to be short-lived. Short drew a leadoff walk; Mattie Johnson sacrificed her to second; and Anna Kate McElhaney's single pushed her to third. A clutch RBI double by Chada helped her cause immensely.
The pattern almost repeated itself in the bottom of the sixth, but Rogers threw out a runner at home from left field to maintain the tie and allow the Canes the ability to regain the lead for good.
With the victory, Cartersville gets some revenge against Cedartown for defeating the Canes in the region playoffs last year. Cartersville will look to keep the momentum rolling when it welcomes Central-Carrollton to town for a 5:30 p.m. game Tuesday.
LaFayette 8, Adairsville 5
Wednesday, it was a six-run first inning that doomed the Adairsville softball team at Allatoona. Thursday, it was a six-run fourth that buried the Tigers at LaFayette.
Adairsville had jumped out to a 5-1 lead over the Ramblers before the wheels came off, leading to an 8-5 road defeat. And just like their 11-3 loss to the Buccaneers the day prior, the Tigers were tripped up by their own shaky defense.
Junior Victoria O'Neal, who started for Adairsville, retired the first two hitters of the fourth. However, a walk and back-to-back errors allowed LaFayette (2-2) to push across a run. Another couple of walks made the score 5-3. The big blow, though, came in the form of a grand slam by Madison Pettigrew, who also earned the win in the circle.
Following the blast, Adairsville made a pitching chance, bringing in Taylor Rhoades. The junior, who pitched the entirety of Wednesday's run-rule shortened loss, allowed just a single tally the rest of the way.
Overall, Rhoades gave up one hit, one walk and the one earned run over 2 1/3 innings. O'Neal gave up seven runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks. She struck out one.
The Tigers (0-2) came out strong offensively with a two-spot in the top of the first.
Senior Alexa Varner, who finished 3-for-4, singled to open the game. She stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Sadye Johnson's single. Following a flyout, Johnson advanced to second on a passed ball before scoring on Chloe Souders' single.
LaFayette halved the deficit in its first turn at bat, thanks to a single, a sacrifice bunt and a double. Adairsville, though, plated three in the top of the fourth to extend its lead.
Rhoades picked up her second hit of the game and an error allowed another batter to reach. Megan Gregory singled home Rhoades, and Varner followed with a two-run double, scoring Olivia Talarico and Katie Smith.
After the debacle in the next half-inning, the Tigers only managed two baserunners the rest of the way, as Smith singled in the sixth and Johnson walked in the seventh.
Adairsville will look to bounce back in its home opener versus Coosa at 5 p.m. Tuesday.