GABBIE DEATON

Commerce's Gabbie Deaton snags a pop-up Tuesday (Sept. 8) in the Tigers' 10-6 win over Flowery Branch. 

It wasn’t a region game, but plenty was on the line for Commerce.

With the Tigers having lost 9-1 to Union County in their last outing, Commerce softball coach Melissa Mullis was curious to see her team’s response against Class AAAA Flowery Branch.

Mullis got her answer.

Sparked by a two-homer from Paige Vickery to break a third-inning tie, the Tigers (8-4) grabbed a 10-6 win over the Falcons Tuesday (Sept. 8) at home.

“I think today was so greatly important to see how much they want to respond with the team that they are really …,” Mullis said. “And if they had come out flat, I would have been very nervous about our future. But they didn’t. They responded with the Tiger fight that I know that they have, that everybody knows that they have.”

Vickery (1-for-4) finished three RBIs in the win as did Anna Taylor, who went 2-for-5. Carson Hobbs was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, while Gabbie Deaton went 2-for-4. The Tiger lineup finished with 11 hits.

Rachel Morgan, who had foot surgery back in April, went the distance in the circle against the Falcons (7-2), allowing nine hits and six runs (four of which were earned) with four walks and four strikeouts.

“I was glad to see Rachel going the seven innings,” Mullis said, noting Morgan’s surgery. “ We’ve just been kind of building up, building up, building up and so she got to finish a seven-inning game, and she threw well and we played great defense behind her.”

Flowery Branch’s Avery Thomas and Lauren Hicks delivered the two biggest hits off Morgan with both homering in the top of the third inning to ease a 3-0 Tiger lead. Thomas hit a solo shot to centerfield and Hicks tagged a two-run homer to centerfield to tie the contest 3-3.

But Vickery turned the game in the bottom of the third when she socked a two-run homer to left field with Kylee Taylor on base.

“She was due,” Mullis said of Vickery. “She’s been struggling a little bit, but she got up there poised, confident and did a great job of hitting.”

Commerce remained in control from there.

Hobbs added an RBI single later in the inning, increasing the lead to 6-3. The Tigers then answered a Flowery Branch run in the top of the fourth inning with a four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Three of those runs scored after an Anna Taylor single to right field.

Mullis praised her team’s response in the third and fourth innings, during which it scored seven of its 10 runs in putting away the Falcons.

“I was worried because they (Flowery Branch) came out and hit a bomb … and so I was like, ‘OK how are we going to respond?’ Are we going to get into our head or are we going to fight? So to see them kind of plug back at it (was good),” Mullis said.

Commerce faces Social Circle in region play Thursday (7 p.m.) on the road.

“Things just kind of came together for us today, and I’m excited for Thursday,” Mullis said. “We have Social Circle. It’s going to be a great game. It’s a region game, and if we bring this type of intensity, I’m excited to continue to play. I don’t care who we play.”

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