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Sun, softball back on local diamonds
Liberty, Long get wins, BI falls to EC
Lady Tiger Kelissa Hargrove is tagged out at third during the Lady Tigers home game Thursday against Effingham County. The visiting Lady Rebels won, 10-1, in five innings. - photo by Patty Leon

With the sun finally shining on the local softball fields, teams got chances to get back to their regular schedules.
This past week, Long County and Liberty County earned victories, while Bradwell fell to a new region opponent.
Bradwell’s Lady Tigers fell to 2-2 in Region 3B-AAAAA after losing to new region opponent Effingham County, 10-1 in five innings, on Thursday in Hinesville.
Bradwell was held to one hit. A few Tigers reached on errors and a fielder’s choice, but they didn’t put a run on the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Lady Tiger coach Sharyl Eastlake said she had not seen the Lady Rebels in action before, but knew they were a good team based on their record. She said her team was a bit rusty, as the recent rash of bad weather has forced them to reschedule four games and miss practice time.
 “We are not as lucky as some other teams. Other teams have a covered batting cage, unfortunately Bradwell doesn’t have one. If we ever get one, that would definitely help,” Eastlake said, adding that her team struggled at bat and started swinging at nearly every pitch.   
“We have to know when it’s a ball and lay off of it and hit only the strikes. If you hit a piece of junk, it’s going to be a piece of junk.”
The Lady Rebels kept hitting the ball into gaps and scoring runs, but Eastlake said her defense still performed well.
“Our defense was solid; there were only two miscues in the game,” she said.
Eastlake especially was impressed with her freshman pitcher and first baseman, MacKenzie Stewart. Stewart caught a foul ball and made several plays at first, including a huge stretch on  a catch to get the runner out.
“I think we have a strong team, and MacKenzie, our freshman, is just rocking it,” Eastlake said. “I couldn’t ask for a better performance, especially from a freshman.”
The Lady Tigers, 8-6 overall, host Glynn Academy on Tuesday.
Earlier in the week, Long County picked up its fifth and sixth wins of the season Tuesday by defeating Atkinson County in a doubleheader in Pearson.  
Scores were 8-0 and 12-1.  
In the first game, Blue Tide pitcher Harley Dawson got the win, throwing five innings with four strikeouts and only allowing one hit.  
Leading hitters were Taylor Poole, who went 3-for-3 with two runs; and Madalyn Flynn who was 2-for-3 with two runs.
In the second game, Caitlyn Wingate picked up the win for the Lady Tide by throwing four innings and recording two strikeouts.  Poole went 3-for-3 with a double, while Sam Garcia went 1-for-2.
“We played well in game one, having a few timely hits and having good base running,” Lady Tide head coach Brian Thomas said. “In game two, we also played well and had good defense. It was good to see us execute all of the routine plays.”
With the wins, Long County improved its overall record to 6-2, while its region mark is 1-0.  
“I feel like we are building some good momentum as we approach our region double-headers, we have some ground to make up but our girls are still grinding and getting better each day,” said Thomas.
This weekend, Long County plays in the Mid-Season Classic Tournament in Hazlehurst.
At Liberty County High School, the Lady Panthers improved to 3-11 overall and 1-0 in Region 3A-AAAA after defeating Statesboro High, 16-7, Tuesday at home.
The Lady Panthers commanded early at the plate; by the end of the second inning, Liberty held a 13-2 lead.
Statesboro closed the gap in the top of the third inning by scoring three runs, but the Lady Panthers took control again.
According to Panther head coach Jerome Standard, pitcher Lori Harden got the win, giving up four walks and four hits while striking out two. The Lady Panthers’ leading hitters included Gabby Anthony, who hit a triple; Harden, who notched a single; and Diamond Richardson, Jeresha Roberson and Riley Davis, who also had singles.
Liberty will host South Effingham at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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