The Apalachee softball team will have to fight its way out of the losers bracket in Columbus.

The Wildcats, despite scoring two runs, were no-hit and couldn’t hold a late lead in a 3-2 loss to Pope in the first game of the double-elimination GHSA Class AAAAAA Elite Eight tournament on Thursday, Oct. 24.

Apalachee (19-11-1) will now face Northgate in an elimination game at noon Friday, Oct. 25. The Vikings lost to River Ridge 5-4 in 12 innings on Thursday afternoon.

The Wildcats broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the top of the fifth inning against Pope Thursday. Morgan Reynolds led off with a walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Destiny Sexton and then moved to third when Alexis Griffith reached on a fielder’s choice. Sam Woody then put down a bunt, allowing Reynolds to score, and reached safely, and Madyson Coe’s sacrifice fly later in the inning scored Griffith to make it 2-0.

The Greyhounds (27-4) got on the board in the fifth with a leadoff home run by Bailey Chapin and then took the lead against the Wildcats and junior pitcher Emily Hodnett in the sixth on a one-out, two-run double by Jadyn Laneaux, which was preceded by a single and an error.

Hodnett went the distance, allowing three runs (two earned), five hits and one walk while striking out 12. Pope junior Hallie Adams threw a complete-game no-hitter, walking three and striking out 11 in seven innings of work.

Pope was scheduled to face River Ridge at 8 p.m. Thursday. Dacula, which beat Lee County 2-1, and Creekview, which shut out Evans 7-0, were scheduled to face off in the other winner’s bracket game at 8 p.m. Thursday. Lee County and Evans will square off at noon Saturday.

Apalachee will have to win twice Friday in order to be one of the last four teams standing and advance to the final day of the tournament Saturday, when they would have to win four games to win the state championship.

If the Wildcats beat Northgate, they would face the loser of Thursday’s Dacula-Creekview game at 4 p.m. Friday. The winner of the Lee County-Evans game will face the loser of the Pope-River Ridge game at 4 p.m. Friday.

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