Woodland softball won twice Tuesday night in Carrollton to not only reach the championship round of the Region 7-AAAAA playoffs, but also secure themselves the first home state playoff series in program history.
“I’m really proud of them,” said Woodland coach Colman Roberts after the two wins. “We want to go back and win the region Thursday night, but will be hosting a state playoff series regardless of Thursday’s outcome. That will be a first for our school.”
Woodland survived back-to-back elimination games Tuesday night in Carrollton as they blasted Hiram in five innings 16-8 and edged Kell in the nightcap, 5-4.
With the two wins, Woodland will face top-seeded Carrollton Thursday evening in the championship round at 5 p.m.
Carrollton does not have a loss in the double-elimination region tournament, so Woodland will need two wins Thursday to capture the region championship.
Woodland scored in every inning of their win over Hiram and out hit the Hornets sixteen to nine.
Hiram held leads of 3-2 in the second inning and 6-3 in the third, but the Lady Cats kept posting runs to regain the advantage.
Bella Carnes (RBI), Hannah Miller (RBI), and Brittany Cox all had three hit games for Woodland. Audrey Morris drove in three runs with two hits and Morgan Bailey added a hit in a three RBI performance. Ansley Evans (RBI), Caroline Higdon (2 RBIs), Jordan Duck (RBI), and Skylar Chappell each added one hit apiece.
Woodland pitcher Sarah Baynard (5 IP, 8R, 6ER, 9H, 0BB, 3K) allowed a pair of home runs early in the game, but settled in to allow only one hit and two unearned runs over the final two frames in earning the win in the circle.
In the come-from-behind upset of 2nd-seeded Kell, the Lady Cats trailed 3-0 through four innings but rallied for five runs in the top of the fifth for their margin of victory.
Morris walked to start the Woodland fifth inning and Carnes followed with a sac bunt that turned into a two-base error charged to Kell’s pitcher. Morris stopped at third on the play.
Bailey grounded out to force in the Lady Cats’ first run and Evans chased home another run with an RBI single. Higdon singled off the pitcher’s glove and Cox tied the game with another RBI infield single. Chappell then followed with a double into center field that forced home two more runs to give Woodland a 5-3 lead.
Woodland pitcher Madi Bentley (7 IP, 4R, 3ER, 11H, 2BB, 5K) allowed three hits and one unearned run over the final two innings, but held on for the complete game victory that included striking out the side in the seventh inning.
Niya McDuffie (3 RBIs) and Abby Ashway led Kell’s offense with three hits each.
Chappell, Cox, Higdon, Evans, Bailey, and Carnes had one hit each for Woodland.
Woodland (14-14) travels back to Carrollton Thursday for a potential doubleheader with Carrollton (23-2). The Lady Trojans are the No. 3 ranked team in Class AAAAA.