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Loganville extends win streak

Call the Exorcist

POSTED: August 27, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Lady Wildcat Logan Leverette prepares to make a diving catch late in Apalachee's loss to Loganville. Despite a flurry of great plays on defense, Loganville recorded their ninth straight win.

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The Lady Wildcats of Apalachee High School dropped a vital region game to Loganville Tuesday afternoon 5-1 at Loganville’s Lady Red Devils.

“We saw a pretty good pitcher today and I thought we worked her well. We were hitting her and rallying against her and finally knocked her out of the game there at the end,” Apalachee softball coach Matt Allen said after Tuesday’s loss. “We’ve just got to keep buying into the team concept and playing as a team and doing the things we’re coached to do. When we do that, we’re a pretty good team.

“When we stray from that, we struggle.”

Tuesday’s loss is just one more in a long string of tough games dating back to the last time the Lady Wildcats defeated Loganville in 2009 in a 7-0 shutout. Since 2009, the Lady Wildcats have lost nine straight to the Lady Red Devils and have been outscored 71-17. Four of those meetings were shutout wins by Loganville.

Loganville’s softball program has been one of the most consistently successful programs in the state for the last 14 years. In fact, the Lady Red Devils have appeared in the state playoffs every season since 2000 and have advanced to the Elite Eight in Columbus eight times in that same period, including four consecutive appearances in the last four years.

They advanced to the Final Four last season, their third time going as far with just one state championship in 2001, and have eight region titles with their last coming in 2012. 

For Apalachee, that just means a tougher opponent to try and beat every season. 

The Lady Cats held Loganville for a stretch at the beginning and entered the second inning scoreless after Becca Meade struck out the first Loganville batter she faced and a couple of great defensive plays, including Hannah Medlam tracking down a shallow hopper of a fly ball, prevented two well hit balls from landing for base hits. 

Apalachee would also send the minimum three batters to the plate in the first inning, despite Mia Giddens working her way out of an 0-2 hole and forcing Loganville’s decorated pitcher, Madelyn Green, into tossing her up to a 3-2 count with several foul balls. Giddens would eventually ground out towards third base, but not until she had forced Green to work well beyond a three-pitch easy out.

Both teams got the bats going in the second inning and got runners on base, but only Loganville could capitalize to take an early lead. Allison Cole knocked a two-out grounder towards short stop and reached safely on a Lady Red Devil error and Logan Leverette doubled towards centerfield to give Apalachee a chance, but the two-out hole proved too costly and Apalachee would end the inning without a score. 

Loganville’s Abby Arrington singled towards shallow centerfield and advanced to second when Andrea Rosario’s fly ball to center fell through a Lady Wildcat’s glove for a costly error.

A pass ball would get Arrington to third and senior Emily Boothe’s double to center brought her home for Loganville’s first run of the night. They would add two more when Megan Wooldridge tripled to centerfield and scored Rosario and Boothe for a 3-0 lead. Meade would get her second strikeout of the night on leadoff batter Kaitlin Gauthier’s second at bat, but the damage was done.

The Lady Red Devils would add a fourth run in the bottom of the third when Green hit into a fielder’s choice with Haley Swords at third. Their fifth run would wait until the fifth inning when a Gauthier double brought Wooldridge home to make the score 5-0. 

Apalachee struggled to get hits in the middle innings and entered the top half of the sixth inning down 5-0 with just one hit and one error to their benefit. The Lady Wildcats did avoid striking out against Green, but any ball that was put in play seemed to find a Loganville defender in the perfect position to make a play.

Fortunes would change for the slightest during that sixth inning, though, when Green loaded the bases with a walk on Medlam, a single from Mekayla Carlyle and by hitting Selena Wilson for the second time that night. 

With bases loaded and no outs, the Lady Wildcats used a sacrifice fly from Cole to score their first and only run of the night to provide the final score of 5-1.

Two more fly balls would end the inning without further damage to Loganville’s lead.

Meade sat down the first Lady Devil she saw in the bottom of the sixth and a routine grounder to second base got the next out, but the final out came on a stunning diving catch by Leverette. 

Apalachee’s batters developed some patience in the box during their last chance when Brianna Bryson took a 4-1 walk and Holly Janco got up to a 3-1 count before her hard hit towards centerfield. Janco hit into Wooldridge’s glove at center, which caught Bryson off guard in between bases when the Lady Devils turned a double play and quickly put in doubt Apalachee’s chances of a rally.

Even though Bryson would ultimately get caught off the bag, her taking a walk was the catalyst that finally got Green out of the game.

“A lot of our girls, by nature, are patient at the plate,” Allen noted. “We’ve got a lot of girls who are smart hitters.”

They would shut the door completely when Wooldridge yet again caught a fly ball in centerfield to record the third out and end Apalachee’s hopes of a late comeback.

The loss to region foe Loganville came just one day after Apalachee’s 3-1 win over Class-AAAAAA Mountain View. Apalachee did allow three errors in the win, though, once again showing a worrisome trend that has been present since errors allowed six unearned runs in the rivalry loss to Winder-Barrow. 

“You know, just a couple of mistakes in the field and a couple of mistakes running the bases and it could’ve been a different game,” Allen acknowledged. 

Apalachee is also playing without two major factors both in the field and behind the plate as both Kaelani Wilson and Savannah Clark are out with injury. Allen expects Clark back either Thursday or Friday, but Wilson will likely be out for at least another week.

“We’ve been playing without a couple of starters due to injury, and even with that we’ve been meshing and gelling and some people have been filling in nicely,” Allen pointed out.

Apalachee will get back in action Thursday by hosting 2013 Region 8-AAAAA champion Heritage in what will likely be another tight, hard-fought contest.

“We’re heading into a big game with Heritage and we’ve got to put this one behind us,” Coach Allen said. “We’ve got that huge game with Heritage, so we’ve got to erase this one from our memory banks and focus on getting ready for them.”

 

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