What a day for Forsyth Central on Thursday at the Region 7-AAAAA softball tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs staved off elimination with a 10-9 victory over Kell in nine innings and a 7-2 win over Sprayberry to move within one win of the region finals.
Central (16-10) will face Cambridge at 5:30 p.m. at the Al Bishop Softball Complex in Marietta with the winner facing Pope in the region championship at 7:30 p.m. Game 2 of the championship series, if necessary, would be Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
It took quite a bit of drama for the Lady Bulldogs punched their ticket to the state playoffs. Central led Kell 6-0 after two innings and 7-1 after four innings before giving up five runs in the sixth and the game-tying run in the seventh.
Both teams traded runs in the eighth inning. Kell scored in the top of the ninth to go up 9-8, setting up Kaileigh Grace’s game-winning two-run double to clinch a state playoff berth and advance.
Central dispatched Sprayberry without the drama. With the game tied 2-2 going into the fifth inning, Central scored one run and blew open the game with a four-run sixth inning.
Carrlyn Kiser earned the wins in both games and was particularly impressive against Sprayberry, allowing five hits, two runs (one earned) and five walks while striking out nine in seven innings.
Grace led Central at the plate for the day, going 3-for-6 with two doubles and four RBIs. Marissa Hull went 4-for-6 with two doubles and three RBIs, Rachel Karlan was 3-for-7 with a double, stolen base and three RBIs and Kiser went 3-for-6 with three RBIs.