BRUNSWICK — The Effingham County Lady Rebels are headed to the Class AAAA state softball tournament.
Effingham lost its second game of the day Monday at North Glynn Complex, but the Lady Rebels battled back with a 10-0 win over Ware County to secure their berth in the state tournament.
Shelby Duff struck out eight in five innings to get the win and Taylor Connell struck out two batters in a scoreless sixth. Marie Fogle was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Mackenzi Golden went 2-for-3 and scored two runs. Kristian Page was 1-for-1 with a triple and walked twice and also scored three runs. Kayla English also had a hit and knocked in a run.
“We hit the ball well, but the main thing is we have to come out to play tomorrow,” ECHS coach Tesh Pace said. “We didn’t play to our full potential today. We have to come out and hit the ball and be ready to play.”
Effingham, which beat Statesboro in the first game but fell 1-0 to Evans in the second round, plays Wayne County today at noon. The winner advances to meet the winner of the Evans-Greenbrier game at 3. If Effingham wins that game, it will play again at 4:30 to determine the region champion.
Jenny Shephard’s one-out triple in the top of the third inning drove in Taylor Jones with the only run and Danielle Hernandez made a game-saving catch in Evans’ 1-0 win over the Lady Rebels in the second round.
Jones reached on an infield single before Shephard delivered her game-winning hit.
The Lady Rebels had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs after singles from Shelby Duff and Marie Fogle. But Hernandez made a sliding grab of Mackenzi Golden’s fly ball down the right field line to end the inning and the threat.
Shephard also got the win in the circle, limiting the Lady Rebels to three hits.
“We had a tough time hitting her,” Pace said. “We swung at bad pitches, which made her look even that much better. If these girls plan to go to state, they better pick it up. We’ve been flat and at this level, you can’t do that.”
Emily Waltz got the start and went four innings before Duff pitched the final three.
“I wanted to rest Shelby because it was hot and she had pitched a complete game against Statesboro,” Pace said.
The Lady Rebels blasted Statesboro 10-0 in the first game Monday morning as Duff struck out seven and walked four in a game cut to six innings because of the mercy rule.
The Lady Rebels scored three runs in the third and ended the game with six runs in the sixth. Fogle was 2-for-2 with two walks, a triple and three runs. Calhoun was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, Whitney Smith had a double and scored twice and Duff was 1-for-3 and scored twice.
Statesboro 000 000 — 0 1 5
ECHS 003 106 — 10 7 0
W — Shelby Duff. L — Brittany Raines.
Leading hitters: Marie Fogle 2-2, 2 BB, 1 3B, 3 R; Kayla Calhoun 1-3, 2 RBIs; Whitney Smith 1-3, 1 2B, 2 R; Duff 1-3, 2 R.
Evans 001 000 0 — 1 5 0
ECHS 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
W — Jenny Shephard. L — Emily Waltz.
Leading hitters: EHS — Shephard 2-2, 1 3B, 1 RBI; Nicki Kinner 1-3, 1 2B; Taylor Jones 1-3, 1 R.
Ware 000 000 — 0 1 2
ECHS 220 402 — 10 8 0
W — Duff. L — Kayleigh Richardson.
Leading hitters: Fogle 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R; Mackenzi Golden 2-3, 2 R; Kayla English 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 R; Kristian Page 1-1, 2 BB, 1 3B, 3 R, 1 RBI.