Apalachee knocked off top-ranked Dacula on the road, and Winder-Barrow claimed the No. 3 seed in GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA as the teams wrapped up their regular season Tuesday, Oct. 1, and will now get set for the state playoffs.
The Wildcats (15-8-1, 12-3 region), the No. 2 seed from Region 8, handed top-seeded Dacula (21-4, 14-1) its first region loss, defeating the Falcons for the first time in three tries this season. The Bulldoggs (9-15, 7-8) went on the road and knocked off Habersham Central (11-11, 7-8) for the second time in three attempts to edge out the Raiders for the No. 3 seed.
Apalachee will host the No. 3 seed from Region 6 in the first round of the state playoffs in a best-of-three series set to begin Tuesday, Oct. 8. Meanwhile, the Bulldoggs will be on the road against the No. 2 seed from Region 6. That series is also scheduled to begin Oct. 8.
The final seeding for Region 6 will be determined Wednesday, Oct. 2. Harrison and River Ridge will square off in the semifinals at 4 p.m., with the loser going to Apalachee next week. The winner will take on Creekview after that game for the championship.
APALACHEE 4, DACULA 2
Apalachee was led Tuesday by its junior pitcher, Emily Hodnett, who went the distance in the circle and went 3-for-4 with a double at the plate. Her first-inning single helped ignite a three-run first inning. Courtesy runner Makayla Tatum scored on a throwing error by the Dacula catcher for the first run, and the Wildcats got two more runs in the frame on an RBI groundout by Morgan Reynolds and a steal of home by courtesy runner Katelyn Flanders.
The Falcons scored both of their runs off Hodnett right away in the bottom of the first with a single, a hit batsman, double and single to start the inning and cut the deficit to 3-2. But Hodnett struck out the next three batters to prevent further damage and never looked back. She allowed seven hits and a walk over seven innings and struck out nine.
Apalachee got an insurance run when Hodnett led off with a single and Flanders, in as a courtesy runner again, put her speed to use, stealing second, moving to third on a single by Reynolds and then stealing home.
WINDER-BARROW 7, HABERSHAM CENTRAL 2
Senior first baseman Rebekah Freeman’s three-run homer in the top of the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie, and the Bulldoggs added two more runs in the seventh on back-to-back RBI singles by Carlee Schotter and Abby Polk to put it away.
Kendal Miller went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Dayton Power, Freeman and Polk also had two hits. Marissa Metz added an RBI single.
Alisah Lopez pitched a complete game for the Bulldoggs, allowing just two runs and seven hits in seven innings of work while striking out a pair with no walks.
VOLLEYBALL: AHS locks up top seed for area tournament; WBHS will No. 4 seed
Apalachee will be the top seed when it hosts the GHSA Area 8-AAAAAA tournament, set for Oct. 10 and Oct. 12.
The Wildcats picked up a pair of area victories at Winder-Barrow on Tuesday, Oct. 1, knocking off Lanier 2-0 (25-22, 26-24) and then holding off Habersham Central 2-1 (25-10, 14-25, 15-9) to claim the No. 1 seed over the Raiders, who will be the No. 2 seed.
Winder-Barrow (28-15, 4-6) lost 2-1 to Gainesville (28-18, 24-26, 9-15) in its first match Tuesday, Oct. 1, before bouncing back with a 2-0 victory over Dacula (25-13, 25-22). The Bulldoggs finished tied with Lanier for fourth in the region standings, and the teams will meet in the first round of the double-elimination area tournament at Apalachee on Oct. 10. Third-seeded Gainesville and sixth-seeded Dacula will also play Oct. 10.
The Wildcats have now won 25 consecutive matches. They'll wrap up their regular season with participation in a tournament at St. Pius on Saturday, Oct. 5, and a best three-out-of-five match at Athens Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
Winder-Barrow will wrap up its regular season Thursday, Oct. 3, at Mill Creek.