In a battle to reach to championship round of the 2016 Georgia Little League Softball state tournament, Bartow County Little League and Habersham County Little League were entrenched in a battle to the very last inning.
Pitchers for both teams were in control for most of the contest. Habersham took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Bartow rallied with a three-run, sixth inning for a come-from-behind victory.
With the win, Bartow will get a rematch with Vine-Ingle/Western Little League for the state championship Thursday night. Bartow’s only loss in the tournament came to Vine-Ingle/Western Tuesday night, 3-1.
Wednesday night, Bartow County pitcher Madison Bentley went the distance for the win in the circle. Bentley scattered four hits and a walk while allowing only two runs in the fourth inning. One of those runs was unearned and she struck out four in the game.
Trailing 2-0 going to their final chance in the sixth inning, Bartow’s offense came alive to pull out the win.
Cassie Jones reached on a bloop single into left field to get things started with one out. Following a second out, Chloe Souders lined a single into left field and Jones eventually scored when the Habersham infield mishandled the ball. Ansley Hight walked for another base runner in the sixth inning and Hallie Owens followed with a single into centerfield that allowed Souders to score and tie the game, 2-2.
Bentley reached on an error by the Habersham pitcher and Hight scored Bartow’s go-ahead run.
Although Habersham County had one base runner in the bottom of the inning that reached on an infield error, Bentley was able to retire the next batter with a pop up to Sayde Johnson at third base to end the game.
Eryn Lee, Jones, Souders, and Owens had the only Bartow hits as the locals improved to 3-1 in the state tournament. Lee also stole two bases.
The finals between Bartow County and Vine-Ingle/Western will take place at Hamilton Crossing Park Thursday night beginning at 6pm. If Bartow can force a second championship game, it will be played at approximately 8pm Thursday.