By Jeff Whitten
The No. 5-ranked Bryan County High School softball team won its sixth straight game on Thursday, beating Region 3A-A rival Calvary Day 3-0 behind a two-hitter from Tiffany Howard.
The Lady Redskins (9-3, 4-1) scored two runs in the first inning and added an insurance run in the seventh to sweep the two game series between the two schools. Earlier, Bryan County won 7-5.
"The last time we faced Calvary they took a lot of pitches trying to get to Tiff (Howard)," BCHS coach Al Butler said. "Between that and the heat they were able to. (Thursday), Tiff did a great job getting ahead in the count early and forcing the Calvary offense to swing the bats. She dominated on the mound, only allowing two base runners, and the defense backed her up."
Howard, who also went 2 for 3 at the plate and scored a run, finished with 10 strikeouts and "was in total control on the mound," Butler said.
Meanwhile, the Lady Redskins scratched out seven hits. Rebecca Strickland drove in two runs and Taylor Butler had two hits and an RBI for the Lady Redskins, who despite a lofty state ranking have had a few bumpy moments this fall.
But they seem to be coming together, their coach said.
"I saw our team continue to build on lessons learned last week," Al Butler said. "We communicated well throughout the game. I felt the team was on their toes waiting to help Tiffany out."
Also providing offense for the Lady Redskins were Sierra Newman, who went 1 for 2 and scored a run and Sierra Cornell, who had a hit.
The game was the second in as many days for Bryan County, which on Thursday beat Savannah Country Day 15-0 in a game shortened to three innings by the mercy rule.
Howard and Alana Walker combined to pitch a short but perfect game.
The Lady Redskins, who scored 14 runs in the first inning, had eight hits. Howard was 2 for 2 with an RBI and scored two runs while Walker, Alana Strickland and Jerri Hines had two hits and an RBI each and Taylor Butler scored three runs against the outmatched Lady Hornets.
Al Butler said Savannah Country Day is a young team in more ways than one.
"They haven't had a program for the past few years and are trying to get it started back up," he said.
Bryan County faces Region 3A-A foes Claxton and Metter next week before heading to Watkinsville to compete in the Veterans Memorial Tournament beginning Sept. 9.
It should be a good test for the Lady Redskins, who still have room for improvement, Butler said.
"We were able to score early (on Thursday) with the help of the small ball game," he said. "What we have got to do is score more often and try to get a big inning of three or more runs every now and then. We are too content with getting a small lead in the early innings instead of building on it and putting our opponents away."