Bryan County took care of business as it beat Screven County last Thursday to win its second region championship in the last three years but when Richmond Hill looked opportunity in the eye it blinked.
Skylar Lee had a home run among her three hits and drove in six runs to lead the Redskins to a 9-1 win over Screven to help her team earn the right to host a Class A Super Regional to be held Oct. 18-19. Bryan County (13-3-1, 6-0) made it a clean sweep of the Region 3A-DI race when it pulled out a 7-1 win at Screven on Tuesday night as it got home runs from Bekah Johnson, McKenzie Mobley and Hayden Joyner. Joyner also pitched a five-hitter to pick up her 11th win of the season and 55th of her career.
Richmond Hill entered the week playing its best softball of the season following a three-game sweep of Valdosta to vault into a tie for first-place with Colquitt County in Region 1-7A.
Lowndes County dashed those dreams Tuesday at Wildcats Field, however, as it combined timely hitting with strong pitching to post 9-0 and 6-0 wins to move into second-place while the Wildcats dropped to third.
Vikings lefthander Camden Anders pitched a no-hitter and struck out 12 in the opener of the twin bill. Lowndes snapped a scoreless tie with three runs in the fourth and then broke the game open with a six-run outburst in the fifth. Anders retired the side in the fifth to end the game. In the nightcap Lowndes pushed across a run in the second and then got three in the second. That was more than enough to beat the Wildcats who had three hits. Daisy Avery, Kayla Ragins and Brooklyn Meyer were the lone Wildcats to reach base.
The two teams met Wednesday at Lowndes in the final game of the week as all Bryan County athletic contests were shut down after Wednesday due to Hurricane Ian.
Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s game with the Vikings and the series with Colquitt next week the Wildcats are assured of making the state playoffs as they have a lock on third-place ahead of Camden County and Valdosta.
“It’s early to lock it up but I’m glad it’s done,” said Bryan County Coach Jason Roundtree of his team’s region title. “We got a lot crammed in last week but we were up for Screven. It’s a good feeling to know we’re going to be playing at home in the Super Regional.”
The Super Regional field is set with the Redskins, Swainsboro, Pelham and Crawford County playing in the double elimination event. The winner will advance to Columbus and the Redskins will be looking to make a repeat trip as they finished third in the state playoffs two years ago.
“These girls have won the school’s only fast-pitch region championships,” Roundtree said. “Although we’ve got the region won there’s still a lot to play for. The seniors have a chance to go unbeaten at home.”
Bryan County played a game every day last week and while the win over Screven was the most important one a Friday 2-1 win over Islands saw Joyner turn in one of the best performances of her career.
Joyner and the Sharks’ Devin Long, who is an East Carolina commit, hooked up in a classic pitcher’s duel which the Redskins won thanks to a wild pitch which took a crazy bounce allowing two runs to score in the fourth.
Each pitcher gave up only one hit and Joyner struck out 16 and did not allow a walk. Long whiffed nine but hurt herself in the fateful fourth.
Islands had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning as it score off a Redskins error. In the bottom half Bekah Johnson walked and hot-hitting McKenzie Mobley followed with a double. Long then uncorked a wild pitch which hit the backstop wall and caromed toward first base allowing both Johnson and Mobley to score.