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Lovejoy earns spot at state sectionals

From Staff Reports

The Lovejoy Lady Wildcats softball team is on its way to Valdosta and the state sectionals.

Lovejoy made its reservations to the state tournament with a 5-4 victory against McIntosh Wednesday night at McCurry Park in Fayetteville during action in the Area 4-AAAAA tournament.

Lovejoy picked up a solid pitching performance from Barbara Baker, who struckout four batters.

Meghan Whitlock's unassisted double play in the second inning ended a potential McIntosh rally.

Offensively, the Lady Wildcats were paced by Rachel Coode, Baker, Lucy Aycock and Jaz McDaniel all got singles.

Lovejoy begins play in the sectionals on Friday, Oct. 24.

Jonesboro, which finished fourth at the Area 2-AAAAA tournament, is also on its way to Valdosta.

ELHS soars to area 2-AAAAA title after three

straight wins

By Jeffery Armstrong

jarmstrong@henryherald.com

The Eagle's Landing Lady Golden Eagles decided to take the scenic route to win the Area 2-AAAAA championship over the Stockbridge Lady Tigers Wednesday night at Lovejoy Regional Park.

The Lady Eagles played three straight games Wednesday, battling for 22 innings to successfully defend their 2002 area title. The team rode the strong arm of sophomore pitcher Terri Mesko, who threw an amazing 310 pitches and beat both Tigers pitchers Tara and Terese Gober to help lead her team to victory.

"I wasn't tired at all. My teammates' strong play kept me pumped up all night long," said Mesko, who struck out 24 Stockbridge batters in two games. "This feels great to win. We executed well all night and you can't ask for anything more than that. My adrenaline was flowing and I was ready to pitch."

It seemed that for Eagle's Landing was destined to win the title. In their first contest on Wednesday, the Lady Eagles eliminated Henry County 2-1 in eight innings to advance to the area finals. Actually, the Ladyhawks of Henry County eliminated themselves n pitcher Amber Harrell threw two wild pitches in a 1-1 game and the Eagle's Landing runner (who started the eighth on second base) made it home with the game-winning run.

In game one of the area finals, Jessica Williams singled home Terese Gober to put Stockbridge up 1-0 after two innings. The young players for Eagle's Landing then stepped up and won the game. Freshman catcher Rachel Wise singled to score teammate Tiffany Tanner, tying the game at one in the fifth. In the seventh, Wise made a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to drive in freshman third baseman Ashlyn Turner for the 2-1 lead and the victory.

Both teams had chances for a big fourth inning in game two. Eagle's Landing had runners on second and third with two outs, but Terese Gober struck out Tanner to get out of the jam.

In the bottom of the fourth, Stockbridge had runners on second and third with one out and couldn't score. Mesko struck out Williams and coaxed a groundout by Megan Throckmorton to escape unharmed.

Eagles shortstop Allison Cantrell took her cue from her young teammates in the fifth, hitting a ground ball to short that Stockbridge shortstop Jennifer Corbin fielded on a dive. Eagles pinch-runner Sondra Jones scored from third and Corbin couldn't throw the speedy Cantrell out.

"I went up during that at-bat thinking that I've got to hit the ball up the middle and hope it reaches the outfield," said Cantrell, who went 3-for-7 with an RBI against Stockbridge. "Winning the area title the way we did is better than last year's win. Terri is unreal n she seems to step it up a notch when we need it."

Eagles head coach Blake Lyons praised his team for playing well, despite losing outfielder Sheree Knowles to a sprained ankle against Henry County.

"This team works hard and I've always told them that if your name is called to play, you've got to step up," said Lyons. "The first piece is in place n now we've got to get through Valdosta and get through Columbus."