STATESBORO — Effingham County’s softball team proved that they can still play with the best of them.
The Lady Rebels went 4-1 to finish third in the Battle of the ’Boro Tournament, defeating Lakeside-Evans 5-0 to capture the Silver Bracket Championship.
The impressive showing in the tournament lifted the girls’ confidence, which was needed after the team suffered its first subregion loss in five years last week.
“This was a chance for us to bounce back and get everything together,” senior catcher Marie Fogle said. “This is a confidence booster and everything is OK with our attitude and confidence.”
In the win, Shelby Duff went the distance, pitching a complete game. She allowed only two hits and struck out 10.
Effingham struck early, scoring three runs in the first inning.
Duff started off the bottom of the first getting hit on the left hip. Kayla Calhoun, next, walked and, later Duff scored off a wild pitch.
Later in the inning with two outs, Mackenzi Golden smacked a triple to left field, scoring Calhoun. Golden later scored off an error.
Though Duff never trailed, she had to dig deep to escape jams.
In the first inning, Lakeside loaded the bases with one out, but Duff used her slider to strike out the next two batters.
In the fourth inning, Lakeside put runners on first and second with one out but Duff again mowed down the batters to escape.
“I had to dig very deep,” she said. “It was a long day, but I had the defense behind me to back me up and that made me work harder.”
But she got help with a line drive double play to first to end the game.
At the plate, Golden and Fogle led the Lady Rebels with two hits apiece.
The two-day tournament, which ended Saturday, featured 16 teams from all over the state.
ECHS head softball coach Tesh Pace was pleased with her team’s performance and said that the tournament only makes her team better.
“It’s more games fore us to play and that’s there main reason we come to the tournaments is to gain experience and play games,” she said. “Different situations come up in the game and in the tournament as far as time limits, extra innings and this is the time we get to practice it.”
Effingham started the tournament Friday with a 2-1 win over Bryan County in four innings. Games were limited to 90 minutes or seven innings, whichever came first.
Taylor Connell earned the win, pitching a complete game. She struck out six.
Duff scored the Lady Rebels’ first run off a throwing error in the first inning. The next inning, Duff knocked in Emma Exley.
Later Friday night, Effingham lost 2-1 to Woodland.
Duff pitched seven innings and struck out 11 but was charged with the loss.
Woodland scored the eventual winning run in the top of the seventh with a two-out hit to center field.
The Lady Rebels swung the bat well in the loss, getting six hits.
Effingham finished pool play with a 3-2 five-inning win over Cross Creek on Saturday.
Emily Waltz earned the win, pitching a complete game.
Kristian Page scored the winning run, sprinting home from second base off Kayla Calhoun’s bunt that got by the third basemen.
Fogle scored the Lady Rebels’ first two runs.
Silver Bracket semifinals.
Duff dominated Southeast Bulloch, pitching a no-hitter and hitting an inside-the-park home run in a five-inning 5-0 win.
The home run led off a four-run third inning for the Lady Rebels.
Calhoun, Whitney Smith, Kalin Martin and Fogle also scored runs. Golden knocked in two runs.
Effingham hopes to keep the bats hot as they host South Effingham at 7 p.m. today. The Lady Rebels beat South Effingham 2-0 to start the season on Aug. 17.