East Coweta wins 13th region softball title
BY DOUG GORMAN
The accolades just keep adding up for the East Coweta Lady Indians softball team.
Thursday night in front of an overflow crowd in their own backyard, East Coweta defeated rival Newnan 5-1 to clinch its 13th region title.
Both teams will be at home next week for first-round best-of-three action in the Class 7A state softball tournament.
“Hats off to Newnan, they have a really good squad this year,” East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach said. “They have a really good chance to be in Columbus this year.”
East Coweta enters the postseason as the defending Class 7A state champions and goes into the tournament as the No. 1 seed out for Region 2 7A. Newnan will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed out of the region.
The Lady Cougars set up their meeting in the championship round of the region tournament with an 8-0 victory over Campbell in a loser’s bracket game earlier in the day on Thursday.
Deloach was happy with the way his team kept the momentum even when Newnan tried to piece together rallies.
“I liked the way we just kept chipping away and scored five big runs,” Deloach said. “I like the way we responded after they scored.”
This was the third meeting between the two schools. East Coweta won the regular season meeting and then beat Newnan in a winner’s bracket game on Wednesday.
Thursday’s matchup between the two teams was by far the most competitive as Newnan kept pace with East Coweta for all seven innings.
East Coweta pitcher Kelley Lynch beat the Lady Cougars in Wednesday’s contest and then came back and won in the championship round Thursday.
Lynch finished Thursday’s contest with 16 strikeouts. The senior has now struckout 30 batters in the last two games for the Lady Indians.
East Coweta out hit Newnan 11-3.
However quality pitching by Ansley Houston and stellar defense by members of the Lady Cougars helped keep Newnan in the game, especially in the early innings.
East Coweta scored single runs in the second, third and fourth to take a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Cougars cut into the lead with their only run of the the game in the sixth.
However, the Lady Cougars pushed their final two runs of the game across the plate in the sixth.
East Coweta grabbed the 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Ansley Gunter.
Caison Byers drove in the second run of the game for the Lady Indians.
Carmen Pryor who bats in the second spot in the lineup for the Lady Indians drove in two runs. Leadoff hitter Lily Agan also had an RBI.
Newnan’s Danielle Curlee drove in leadoff hitter Kaylen Madrey for the Lady Cougars’ only run of the game in the sixth,
For the second night in a row, Madrey also turned some key plays from her shortstop position.
Newnan’s Hailey Bloom and East Coweta’s Byers also threw out base runners at home plate from their outfield positions.
In its game against Campbell, Newnan struck early and often.
The Lady Cougars scored two runs in the first, two in the second, three in the third and one in the fourth to ended the 8-0 victory after the top of the fifth by the mercy rule
Houston pitched three innings, striking out four and walking none. She also helped her own cause at the plate belting a home run off the scoreboard in left center in the third inning.
She finished with two RBIs.
Keeleigh Lennon pitched the final inning for the Lady Cougars and kept Campbell of the scoreboard.
Katelyn Magnus also drove in two runs against the Lady Spartans.
Alex Williams and Hailee Hartfree also drove in a run against Campbell.
Alexander 8, Northgate 7: The Northgate Lady Vikings will go into next week’s Class 6A tournament as the No. 2 out of Region 5 after falling to tournament host Alexander Friday night.
Trailing 7-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Alexander scored four times to win the the game and the region title.
Alissa Bolinger continued her hot display at the plate, finishing with three hits and an RBI for the Lady Vikings.
Natalie Heath and Sarah Turi also had an RBI.