Callaway, Heard meet in region tourney
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway High softball team knows it is going to be in the state playoffs.
Whether the Lady Cavaliers will be at home for a first-round playoff series or not will be determined on Tuesday when they play the rival Heard County Lady Braves in the opening round of the Region 5-AA tournament.
There are four teams participating in the region tournament that will be held at Heard County, and while the top-two finishers will host a state-playoff series, the third-place and fourth-place teams will be on the road.
Callaway, the number four seed, played top-seeded Heard County twice during the regular season.
The first meeting was close, with Callaway taking an early 3-1 lead before falling 4-3.
Faith Horton delivered a strong performance on the mound for Callaway with the complete game, and she was backed up by a defense that made some outstanding plays.
Center fielder Mya Lawton made some highlight plays that ended Heard County threats.
In the top of the second, Heard County had two runners on when Lawton made a running catch on a ball that appeared headed to the fence, and she threw a strike to first base for the inning-ending double play.
Lawton came through with another big-time play in the sixth inning when the game was tied.
Heard County began the inning with back-to-back hits, putting runners on first and third with no outs.
After Horton got a strikeout and a pop-out, Lawton made a running catch while running into the outfield fence, and the game remained tied at 3-3.
Callaway also had a pair of double plays started by shortstop Chaple Butler.
In the top of the first, Butler fielded a grounder and tossed it to second baseman McKenzie Rhodes, who threw a strike to first baseman Tyterria Godwin for the inning-ending double play.
In the top of the seventh after Heard County took the lead, Butler made a nice play on a hard-hit ball, and she stepped on second and made the throw to first for the double play.
On the next play, Rhodes delivered a defensive gem of her own, ranging to her left to field a sharply-hit grounder, and she flipped the ball to first for the third out.
Callaway scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the first inning to build a 3-1 lead.
Butler led off with a walk and Rhodes was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, and Lawton followed with an RBI double to put Callaway on the board.
Lawton later scored on a wild pitch, and Lindsay Cofield, who reached on an infield single, also scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 3-1.
Heard County scored single runs in the third and fifth innings before taking the lead with a run in the top of the seventh.
While the first game was a nail-biter, the rematch was all Heard County, which rolled to a 9-1
On the other side of the bracket, second-seeded Bremen and Haralson County will play at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Callaway is winless against the other three teams in the tournament, with its two region wins coming against Temple.
At Heard County
5 p.m. – Bremen vs. Haralson County
7 p.m. – Callaway vs. Heard County
5 p.m. – Third-place game
7 p.m. – Championship game