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Wildcats elude elimination, reach Final Four at Class 5A state tourney

Michiah Hicks had six hits including a triple and four RBIs in Friday's wins over Calhoun and Jones County.

With their backs to the wall and facing elimination in both games Friday, the Woodland softball team defeated Calhoun and Jones County to reach the Class AAAAA Final Four on Saturday at the Columbus South Commons Olympic Softball Park.

Playing in the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament, Woodland edged region-foe Calhoun 5-4 Friday afternoon and pounded Jones County 11-0 Friday night. Woodland lost in the opening round Thursday night, falling to Starr's Mill 4-0.

Woodland senior pitcher Lainey Baker worked all twelve innings of the Lady Cats' two wins Friday. In the victory over Calhoun, she allowed just three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out 13. Woodland scored all five of its runs in the first three innings including a solo home run by Dylynn Motes that gave the Lady Cats a 5-2 advantage.

Michiah Hicks had two hits to launch the Wildcats’ offense. Alana Carnes had an RBI hit and Cassie Jones had a two-RBI double in the second inning as Woodland built a 4-1 lead. Jordan Hammonds had the other Lady Cats base hit.

Espee Reyes hit a pair of home runs for Calhoun. Her first in the bottom of the opening inning tied the score 1-1. Her second homer narrowed Woodland’s lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Emma Rogers had two doubles and one RBI for Calhoun. Macy Brown had an RBI hit for the Yellow Jackets who had their season end with a 21-15 record.


The Wildcats eliminated last year’s state runner-up 11-0 behind another brilliant pitching performance by Lainey Baker.

Senior pitcher Lainey Baker earned both wins in the circle Friday.

The senior hurler limited the Greyhounds to just one single in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Michiah Hicks had four hits including a triple and four RBIs to lead the Lady Cats’ attack. Jessica Ryan followed with two hits and also added one RBI.

Cassie Jones (RBI), Dylynn Motes (double, RBI), Cambrie Carrington (RBI), Peyton Dorn (RBI), Bitsy Hartsfield (RBI), Alana Carnes, and Jordan Hammonds all added one hit each.

Jones County had its season end with a 23-7 record.

Woodland (19-14-2) returns to the diamond Saturday morning at 11 a.m. to face Loganville in a third consecutive elimination game. The survivor plays again at 1 p.m. against the Starr’s Mill/Northside-Columbus loser.

The championship round is scheduled for 3 p.m. with the “if necessary” game set for 5 p.m.


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