Bryan County’s bats went cold at an inopportune time and that, combined with some shaky fielding, saw the Redskins eliminated after two games in the Elite Eight of the GHSA Class A-D1 state tournament.
The Redskins (20-8-1) left eight runners stranded in dropping a 3-2 decision to Prince Avenue Christian on Thursday afternoon in the double elimination tournament being held in Columbus. Bryan County had lost its opening game to Pepperell, 4-0, on Wednesday.
Bryan County made a run at the Wolverines in the bottom of the seventh inning thanks to Bekah Johnson’s two-run homer but could not pull it out. This was the Redskins’ second trip in the last three years to Columbus. Two years ago, they were eliminated in the Final Four as they finished third in the state.
Hayden Joyner turned in another strong pitching performance as she gave up only five hits but the Wolverines (26-9) were able to punch across two runs in the third inning and then got what proved to be the winning run in the seventh inning when Audrey Vandagraf hit a home run for a 3-0 lead.
Johnson gave the Redskins hope when she followed Camryn Parker’s one-out single with a homer and Joyner followed with a single and Elizabeth Harvey reached on a fielder’s choice. But the rally fizzled as the next two batters went down to end it.
Bryan County left eight runners stranded but was plagued by four errors which was a near repeat of their opening game loss to Pepperrell when they committed five miscues. The Redskins had eight hits, two by Skylar Lee.
Against Pepperell the Redskins had only four hits against Caroline Morgan who struck out 13. Johnson had two hits against the Dragons righthander.
That loss dropped Bryan County into the losers bracket against the Wolverines who had lost to Bacon County, 6-2. Joyner gave up only six hits to Pepperell while striking out seven and walking two.
One of those walks proved to be costly, however, as it came with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the fourth inning. That run turned out to be all Pepperell needed but the Dragons put the game out of reach with a three-run outburst in the fifth.
Pepperell got to Joyner for two hits in the fifth, but the Redskins hurt themselves as they committed three of their five errors in the inning to give the Dragons more help than they needed.
Bryan County was able to mount only one threat and that came in sixth when Johnson and Joyner had back-to-back singles with one out only to be left stranded. The Redskins’ only other hit came in the fourth when Harvey singled with one out.