The Upson-Lee Lady Knights took on the Brookstone Lady Cougars for Senior Night last week. Unfortunately a late rally by the Lady Knights fell just short, as Brookstone improved their record to 18-4 with the 7-6 victory, and the Lady Knights fell to 10-8.
Brookstone, a private school from Columbus which plays in Region 4 A in the GHSA classification, is ranked in the top 10 in the state and defeated Upson-Lee by a 6-1 score earlier in the season. However, in this second meeting, it was Upson-Lee who led 3-1 after the first inning of play.
Brookstone took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first. In the bottom bracket, Rachel Bridges scored on a RBI single from Alexis Pollard to tie the game at 1-1. Montana Schug followed by reaching base on an errant throw, with Pollard coming home to score. Taylor Thomas then added a RBI single to right field, scoring Schug and giving UL a 3-1 lead on the Lady Cougars.
Kaylee Ellington toed the rubber for the Lady Knights and pitched brilliantly in the first four innings of the game. Unfortunately, the Lady Knights defense would let her down with some key errors in the fifth inning, allowing Brookstone to score five runs and take a 6-3 lead after the fifth inning.
However, the Lady Knight battled back to add a run in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth inning. After a couple of defensive errors by the Lady Cougars’ defense, Hannah Watson drove home a run in the fifth inning with a RBI ground ball to the first baseman, and the Lady Knights trailed 6-4.
In the top of the sixth inning Brookstone added a single run to take a 7-4 lead, but once again the Lady Knights came back with runs of their own. On Senior Night it was senior Darbi Callaway who came through with a huge double down the right field foul line. Rachel Bridges followed with a RBI single to center field, scoring Callaway and cutting the Brookstone lead to 7-5. Montana Schug once again reached on a error by the Brookstone shortstop, and on the errant throw, Bridges crossed to plate, making the score 7-6 in favor of the Lady Cougars.
The Lady Knights held the Lady Cougars scoreless in the top of the seventh inning, but the Lady Knights also failed to score, falling to Brookstone by a 7-6 score.
Callway paced the Lady Knights with two hits and a run scored, with both hits coming in the form of doubles in the outfield gaps. Rachel Bridges added two hits, two runs scored, and a RBI. Taylor Thomas, who left the game after suffering a wrist injury, contributed with a hit and a run scored in the first inning, while Alexis Pollard and Harleigh Lippert also chipped in with base hits in the loss.
With a 7-2 record in Region 4 play this season, the Lady Knights have clinched the No. 3 seed for the Region 4 Tournament next week. Locust Grove and Woodland have clinched the top two seeds in the region, and have advanced to the second round of the Region 4 Tournament.
Upson-Lee will host the first round at the ULHS softball complex and will take on the No. 6 seed in the region, which could be Spalding or Dutchtown. Eagles Landing has clinched the No. 4 seed and will take on the No. 5 seed, which also could be Spalding or Dutchtown. The Lady Knights defeated Spalding earlier this season up in Griffin by a an 11-6 score, and they downed Dutchtown in their home opener by a 6-1 score.
The winners of the two games will advance as the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds respectively, where in the second round the No. 1 seed Locust Grove will play the No. 4 seed, and the No. 2 seed Woodland will play the No. 3 seed. All four teams which advance to the second round of the Region Tournament are guaranteed a berth in the state playoffs. The Region 4 Champion and Runner-Up will host a game in the first round of the state playoffs, while the third and fourth place teams will hit the road in the first round of the state playoffs.
Continue to read The Times for updates on the Lady Knights softball team and their quest to advance to the playoffs.