JACKSON County’s softball team appears to be playing its best softball at precisely the right time as the Panthers have won seven of their last eight ball games as the regular season nears its end.
That included a 9-1 trouncing of nemesis North Oconee Thursday as Jackson County (10-10-1) now sits in a tie for first place with a 4-1 mark in Region 8-AAA play.
“It was a huge win, especially since that was our senior night,” Jackson County coach Chessie Laird said. “For the girls to jump out early 4-0 and then stay ahead the whole way.”
The win was also big given the opponent.
“It was a huge win for the seniors and for our team because I believe that’s the first time we’ve beaten North Oconee,” Laird said.
One of the biggest offensive keys was not wasting opportunities. Jackson County has been haunted at times by stranding runners.
“In the past, we’ve had problems getting runners around,” Laird said. “We’ve been leaving too many girls in scoring position, but Thursday we were able to get those runners across.”
Offensive leaders were Alyssa Dasher (3-for-3, run, stolen base), Madi Pecht (3-for-3, two runs) and Mason Garland (2-for-3, two runs scored, one RBI). Other Lady Panthers contributing were Peyton Sorrells (1-for-2, two RBIs), Andrea Ledford (1-for-3, two RBIs), Shelton Kendrix (1-for-3, RBI, two runs), Kristin Anderson (1-for-3, RBI), Victoria Fontana (run), and Kaley Tanner (run).Pitching in the circle, Peyton Sorrells faced 19 batters over five innings. She only gave up one run (unearned), one hit and two walks.
Laird explained the team’s recent surge.
“We’re kind of more into region play,” Laird said. “Basically, I feel like we’re peaking at the right time. We’re making the corrections, and we’re making the adjustments when needed and it’s really turned for us.”
Jackson County has a busy week with games against Archer (Wednesday), East Jackson (Thursday) and Collins Hill (Friday). The Collins Hill game is part of the Brookwood Invitational. That tournament will continue into Saturday with Jackson County playing three games that day.
“Seeing those quality teams against will get us ready for what we need to be ready for in the region tournament and in the state tournament,” Laird said.
Prior to Thursday night's victory over North Oconee, Jackson County honored its four seniors — Kristin Anderson, Victoria Fontana, Whitney Kendrix, and Andrea Ledford.