JACKSON County’s softball team continues to stride toward the postseason with nine consecutive wins now in the books and 16 victories in its last 17 tries.
The seventh-ranked Panthers (17-3, 8-1) made Elbert County their latest victim, beating the Blue Devils 8-0. Jackson County’s last loss came Sept. 6.
“They have really worked hard each day, and they’re really staying focused,” coach Chessie Laird said.
Jackson County’s nine-game streak includes six shutouts in its last seven games as the Panthers continue to thrive behind their pair of aces on the mound — Haley Shinall and Kortnee Satterfield. The duo has thrown nine shutouts this season.
“With Haley and Kortnee each day, you know you’re going to going to get a great game,” Laird said. “They’re 100 percent no matter what.”
Laird said it’s a luxury to be able to have two pitchers of that caliber on the same roster.
“You can put one in and you don’t lose anything,” Laird said.
Against Elbert County, Shinall went 2-for-3 on senior night scoring two runs while throwing a one-hitter in a five-inning, shortened game and striking out 10.
Others keying in the win were Mason Garland (2-for-3, one run, one RBI) and Jessica Baker (1-for-2, one run, one RBI).
Before that, Jackson County coasted to an 8-2 win over Hart County Thursday behind a 2-for-4, three-RBI night from Madison Whitmire, who also scored a run.
Other leading hitters were Mason Garland (1-for-3, two RBIs, one run) and Macey Latty (2-for-2, RBI, run).
Shinall picked up another region win with five strikeouts in seven innings.
Jackson County has just three subregion games remaining as it remains in a tie with no. 9 North Oconee for first place in Region 8-AA South. The Titans, however, hold the tiebreaker right now because of their Sept. 6 win over the Panthers, Jackson County’s only loss in divisional play.
The two teams square-off again Sept. 29 in the regular season finale.
Jackson County will face stiff out-of-region competition this week as it takes part in the Brookwood Invitational.
Laird said that will only help what’s really been a focused team all year long maintain that focus.
“I think with the higher caliber teams that we’ll be playing, it will give us a push,” Laird said.
Jackson County’s ultimate goal this season is to qualify for the Elite Eight in Columbus. While that’s been in the Panthers’ mind since the preseason, the team is making sure it doesn’t look too far ahead.
“Each day we try to stay grounded and keep our focus … You can’t take anything for granted,” Laird said.