HOSCHTON – Greenbrier traveled over 110 miles and couldn’t leave Jackson County with a victory Thursday night.
The Panthers swept the Wolfpack in a doubleheader to climb back above .500 in Region 8-AAAAA. Maliah Lee’s 12 strikeouts in game one led Jackson County to a 4-0 victory, while the Panthers rallied with a five-run sixth inning to win game two 9-4.
Jackson County (5-4, 3-2 Region 8-AAAAA) capitalized on Greenbrier’s mistakes to score its first run of the night. Raeghan Thompson doubled to left field in the first inning and then scored when the Wolfpack committed an error on Peri Foster’s sacrifice bunt.
The Panthers extended their lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Thompson’s second double brought Whitney Hulsey home. Jackson County added two more runs in the sixth inning off sacrifice grounders by Hulsey and Thompson. Blayne Dowdie and Kylen Hewell slid into home plate on the two grounders to create a 4-0 lead.
The closest Greenbrier (4-3, 0-2 Region 8-AAAAA) got to score was in the fifth and seventh innings when a single runner reached scoring position. Lee didn’t even allow a hit until the fourth inning and she only allowed three hits in the entire game.
JACKSON COUNTY 9, GREENBRIER 4
The Panthers and Wolfpack traded blows in the second game, but Jackson County managed to land the knockout shot with a five-run sixth inning to sweep Greenbrier.
The Wolfpack started the contest with a two-run homer in the first inning, their first of two in the game. Jackson County knotted the game at 2-2 in the second inning when Kylen Hewell’s line drive to center field brought Brooklyn Bruce and Maegan Brownlee home. Bruce initially got on base with a one-out double and Brownlee reached first base when she was hit by a pitch.
The Panthers took a 3-2 lead in the third inning when Brownlee singled to right field, bringing Ansley Barnes home from third base. But Jackson County couldn’t enjoy the lead as the Wolfpack hit another homer in the fourth inning to tie the game 3-3.
Peri Foster put the Panthers ahead 4-3 in the bottom half of the fourth with a single down the third baseline which brought Whitney Hulsey home. Jackson County led until Greenbrier hit a two-out double in the top of the sixth inning to bring home a runner from second base.
Jackson County finally put the Wolfpack away with an explosive bottom of the sixth inning. Hulsey sparked the rally with a double to center field. A walk by Raeghan Thompson and a single by Foster loaded the bases with one out. Barnes brought Hulsey and Thompson home with a hard grounder into right field. Foster and Barnes later scored on a line drive single by Bruce, who later scored on a wild pitch with two outs. Jackson County led 9-4 after the rally.
Lee retired Greenbrier with little drama in the top of the seventh to secure the 9-4 victory for Jackson County. The Panthers resume Region 8-AAAAA play on Tuesday (Sept. 7) at home against Clarke Central.