Fourth-ranked Pierce County swept away defending region champion Brantley County taking a home-and-home series against the Lady Herons.
The Lady Bears (14-5 overall, 7-0 Region 1-AAA) captured the series opener at home 9-1 Tuesday, September 22. It was the first meeting between the two teams after rain cancelled the previous two dates.
PCHS posted a second 9-1 win two days later in Caney Bay to clinch the top spot for the region tournament, which is scheduled to start October 6. The Lady Bears traveled Tuesday, September 29, to Reidsville to face Tattnall County.
No. 4 Lady Bears 9
Lady Herons 1
Rebecca Deloach belted a pair of two-run homers to back the pitching of Natalie Herrin as the Lady Bears knocked off Brantley County.
Herrin allowed seven hits over six innings finishing with nine strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter.
Deloach (2-for-2) lined a two-run homer to left field in the first inning giving PCHS the lead for good at 2-1. She added a two-run bomb to left in the fourth upping the margin to 4-1.
The two-homer game was the second of the season for Deloach and her seven round-trippers are tied for fourth in the state. Grier Bruce of Harrison leads the way with 10.
Brantley County struck for a run in the first inning on a two-out single by Brooke Evans (2-for-3). Abbey Flowers (1-for-2) lined a one-out single and was lifted for courtesy runner Madelyn Saunders.
Lindey Lowther (1-for-3) kept the inning alive with a two-out single. Evans hit a 3-2 offering to right scoring Saunders.
PCHS came back in the bottom of the inning taking the lead on Deloach’s (2-for-2) homer. Natalee Griffin laced a one-out single to center and trotted home on a two-out home run by Deloach.
Sydnie Middleton was left stranded after a two-out double in the third inning. The Lady Herons left another runner in scoring position in the fourth inning.
The Lady Bears pushed the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth plating three runs. Herrin (1-for-3) doubled on the second pitch of the inning from Lowther (5 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 6 K, 1 BB, 2 WP). Deloach followed four pitches later with her second dinger of the game.
Natalie Sullivan (1-for-3) kept the inning going with a two-out single. She stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Reagan Larson’s (2-for-3) single to left.
Brantley County loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth before Herrin shut the door. Jada Scott (1-for-2) reached on an infield hit. Hope Lynn (1-for-3) followed with a single to center. Scott was thrown out at third base by centerfielder Makayla Pitts.
Flowers was hit by a 3-1 offering from Herrin with Middleton drawing a four-pitch walk loading the bases. Herrin got the next two batters with a strikeout and pop out.
PCHS added two runs in the bottom of the inning for a 7-1 advantage. Pitts (2-for-4) hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a one-out grounder, and scored on a wild pitch following an intentional walk to Deloach.
Deloach, who took second on the wild pitch, scored the second run on Kylie Allen’s (1-for-3) bloop single to right.
The Lady Bears ended the game in the sixth inning plating two final runs. Sullivan reached on an error, stole second and scored on Larson’s single. Pinch-runner Rylee Carden, who replaced Larson, scored the final run on a single by Pitts.
No. 4 Lady Bears 9
Lady Herons 1
In a near replay of their victory earlier in the week, the Lady Bears rode the power hitting of Deloach and a dominating pitching performance by Herrin to beat Brantley County.
Deloach’s eighth home run of the season, a three-run shot in the sixth inning, highlighted a six-run outburst that broke open a close game. It was her third homer in two games.
Herrin also homered and doubled for the Lady Bears, but it was her pitching that was most impressive. She pitched her second straight complete game against the Lady Herons and took a shutout into the bottom of the sixth.
Herrin allowed five hits and struck out 12 Brantley County batters, making her pitching line for the week 12 innings pitched, 12 hits, two earned runs, two walks and 21 strikeouts.
Madison Pickett, Pitts and Larson each added a pair of singles for the Lady Bears, who out hit the Lady Herons 11-5. Sullivan and Griffin also hit safely.
The Lady Bears got all the runs they would need in the top of the first inning when Pitts led off with a bunt single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Griffin and scored on a wild pitch.
Pickett later added a two-out single to center to drive in Herrin, who had walked and advanced when Deloach was hit by a pitch.
Herrin homered to center field with one out in the third inning to make it a 3-0 game and the Lady Bears put the game out of reach by scoring six runs after two outs in the sixth.
Sullivan and Larson got the Pierce County sixth started with back-to-back, one-out singles. Tivona Myles was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
After Pitts fouled out for the second out of the inning, Griffin lined a single to center on an 0-2 pitch to plate two runs. Herrin then doubled to drive in Myles, and DeLoach followed with her three-run blast to left to make the score 9-0.
The Lady Herons got a run in the bottom of the sixth when Lowther walked with two out, took second on a hit batter and scored on a single by Scott.