Four local teams start state playoff play Friday

Tue, 10/16/2007 - 2:38pm
By: Michael Boylan

Class AAA North Sectional

Lanier Pointe, Gainesville

Sandy Creek Lady Patriots (21-10-1) vs. Apalachee Lady Wildcats (22-7)

Friday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m.

The Lady Patriots enter the Class AAA state tournament as the third seed from Region 6-AAA. Sandy Creek fell to Central, Carroll on Saturday, the final day of the region tournament, but had picked up some demonstrative wins earlier in the tournament. The Lady Patriots are led by two pitchers, Kayla Folds and Hannah Braswell, and young, solid hitters with good speed. There are two seniors on the squad, third baseman Megan Kallatsa and outfielder/backup catcher Dani Frazier. The Lady Patriots are looking to go deep in the playoffs this year and gain some playoff experience for perhaps an even deeper run next year. Some of their key players this year have been junior shortstop Candace Dunn, junior outfielder Meagan Sitton and sophomore first baseman Kayla Awbrey.

The Lady Patriots have outscored their opponents 171-76 this year.

Apalachee lost to region champion Oconee County 5-0 in the region final and had been shutout by them on Sept. 6 (1-0), Oct. 2 (3-0) and in a morning game last Saturday (6-0). Take away those games and you are looking at a juggernaut with only one loss since Sept. 11. They have held opponents to one run or less 21 times this season. Apalachee has outscored its opponents 105-38 this year. It has four seniors on its squad: outfielders Tiffany Dobbs and Emily Webb, shortstop Kimmie Bunten and third baseman Erica Dale. Junior Cortney Gunby is their top pitcher, and her batterymate is catcher Rian Green.
The winner of this game will meet the winner of Lumpkin County and Chamblee at 8 p.m. Friday.

Class AAAA South Sectional

Lovejoy Regional Park, Hampton

McIntosh Lady Chiefs (18-4) vs. Dutchtown Lady Bulldogs (15-15)

Friday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m.

McIntosh heads into the Class AAAA tournament as the No. 2 seed from Region 2-AAAA. Its coming off back-to-back losses to Northgate in the finals of last week’s region tournament, but the Lady Chiefs have already put those games behind them. McIntosh has one of the top pitchers in the state in senior Morgan Kidd, who will play at Boston College next season, and a talented lineup that features three seniors — first baseman Erin Justice, shortstop Holly Houghton and third baseman Amber Shaw — big-hitting junior designated hitter Jessica Conaway and up-and-coming underclassmen Nicole Fox, a catcher, and Linsey Hearn, an outfielder. The Lady Chiefs certainly have enough talent to make a deep run in the state playoffs.

The young Lady Bulldogs — they have only three seniors, outfielders Abby Southerland and Brittany Tanner and shortstop Brittani Stanga — finished third in Region 4-AAAA. Dutchtown was .500 overall, but it did have a winning region record (10-7). When Dutchtown wins, it usually wins big; it has won 11 games by four runs or more this season.

The winner of this game will face the winner of Lee County and Wayne County at 8 p.m. Friday.

Whitewater Lady Wildcats (22-9-1) vs. Jones County Lady Greyhounds (19-13)

Friday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m.

Whitewater, the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AAAA, has one of the youngest teams in the sectionals — it has only two seniors, including standout shortstop Tess Echols, who will play at Georgia next season — but its juniors, led by first baseman Jamie Saunders, outfielder Ashley Schwab and catcher Lauren Williamon, and a trio of sophomores, pitcher Whitney Toler, second baseman McKenize Woody and third baseman Haley Richards, make the squad formidable. Whitewater can bash the ball with the best of them; it’s averaging six runs per game, and has outscored its opponents 195-36. And Toler, despite being only a sophomore, has already established herself as a reliable ace. If everything comes together for the Wildcats, they could be one of the tougher teams to defeat.
Jones County, the No. 2 seed from Region 4-AAAA, is loaded with upperclassmen — five seniors and six juniors — and its experience has been a major plus, especially in the region, in which it went 13-4. Jones County has a pitching tandem that features a sophomore, Taylor Williams, and a junior, Kristin Loth. The Lady Greyhounds have outscored their opponents 152-91.

Whitewater and Jones County played earlier this year, with Whitewater winning, 5-0.

The winner of the rematch will play the winner of Americus-Sumter and Greenbrier at 8 p.m. Friday.

Starr’s Mill Lady Panthers (20-12) vs. Northside, Warner Robins Lady Eagles (27-6)

Friday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m.

Starr’s Mill goes into the sectionals as the No. 4 seed from Region 2-AAAA. Finishing fourth was a disappointment for Starr’s Mill, but the Lady Panthers are looking to rebound with a strong showing in the sectionals. Their experience — they have seven seniors — should prove beneficial. All eyes will be on senior ace Paige Peurifoy. The right-hander will be counted on to carry Starr’s Mill as far as she can take them.

Hitting also will be key for the Lady Panthers, who have outscored their opponents 148-61. Shortstop Ashley Clontz, second baseman Heather Walker, outfielder Chesley Savage and Peurifoy must produce at the plate for Starr’s Mill to make it deep into the playoffs.

Northside, Warner Robins is one of the hottest teams in the state, having won its last 13 games en route to winning the Region 4-AAAA championship. The Lady Eagles, who went a perfect 16-0 in their region, have outscored their opponents 152-26. They have blended younger (five freshman, two sophomores) and older (four seniors, three juniors) players to have one of the best seasons in school history.

Northwide, Warner Robins beat Starr’s Mill 3-2 in eight innings earlier this year.
The winner of the rematch will play the winner of Evans and Bainbridge at 8 p.m.

Kevin Wandra contributed to this story.

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