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Softball: East splits with Pierce, set for decisive Game 3

You know it’s an even matchup when both games end with a walkoff.

After Cadence Alberty hit a walkoff double to win Game 1 on Wednesday, Pierce County’s Kylie Allen hit a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to win Game 2.

Between the two games, each team totaled 10 runs. It’s as even as it gets.

“That was a lot of fun,” East Forsyth coach Dan Weber said. “That’s it. It was just fun. Two teams competing. You can’t ask for more. That’s how it went. Two teams competed. They won one, we won one. That’s about what you expect in round two.”

Alberty, who went 4-for-8 with four RBIs, had her biggest hit in the bottom of the seventh in Game 1. Going into it, she knew what she needed to do and didn’t put too much pressure on herself.

“Just do what I have to do,” Alberty said. “I have to stay within myself in that and pretend it’s me and my dad in the cage and hit the ball where I’m supposed to hit it, and have the right approach. With the runner on third there, hit it to right field, make certain that she’ll get in, even if it’s a line drive.”

In the top of the seventh, Pierce County had a runner on third with only one out. Still, the Broncos managed to get out of the inning without giving up a run before Alberty’s walkoff with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Despite the momentum swing, Weber and his team remained focused on the task at hand.

“Next game,” Weber said. “Next game. To me, that game’s over, and we gotta move on. That was my mentality. Next game. Now we got 'next game' again.”

In Game 2, East led 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh after Alberty and Emma Smallwood each hit RBIs in the top of the inning. However, Natalie Sullivan and Allen each drove in two runs in the inning, giving Pierce the victory.

Weber’s team has been in a similar situation before. In their only region loss of the season to White County, they had a lead going into the final inning and lost it. They responded by beating Cherokee Bluff 10-1, and Weber is confident they can do it again.

“Just like we did at White County,” Weber said. “Come back and do what we did against Cherokee. We come back the same team we were. We’ve done this before. White County came back, same situation and beat us. We came out like we do. We respond very well. I think they’ll respond the same way.”

Alberty pitched the entirety of both games, striking out more batters [13] than she allowed hits [11].

She also knows what her team needs to do to win the game tomorrow.

“We've got to come out and jump out on them," she said. "We can’t be slacking. We've got to come out and score the first inning and go 1, 2, 3 the first inning on defense. We’ve just got to stay together. We can’t get too far outside of ourselves. We've just got to stay together as a team.”

Emily Hutcheson went 4-for-6 between the two games, while Cali Marshall finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs in Game 2.

The winner of Thursday's game will face Harlem in the first round of the Class 3A tournament in Columbus.