Corey Cusick// Times-Georgian
Trading in its traditional Black and Gold attire for the evening, the Carrollton High School softball team paid homage to cancer victims, survivors and current fighters with the Annual 'Pink Out' game on Tuesday, spotlighting a cause that is much greater than the game.
And after honoring cancer survivors and those still battling the affliction during a pre-game ceremony, the Lady Trojans stepped between the lines and delivered a spirited effort in a 7-1, five-inning victory over East Paulding, inching one step closer to the No. 1 seed for the Region 7-AAAAA Tournament.
But on this night, Carrollton head coach Lisa Phillips wanted to remind her squad to keep things in perspective and understand what this event was really about.
The fourth-ranked Lady Trojans (19-1-1, 11-1 Region 7-AAAAA) had just enough time to dispatch the Lady Raiders (10-10, 5-6) before inclement weather hit the area, forcing the game to be called with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.
Fortunately, the host squad was able to record the necessary outs in the top of the fifth to declare it an official game and not have to worry about restarting or making up the game at a later date.
"That first little pop of lightning that we had, I was afraid they were about to call it. We knew we needed them out [in the fifth] to make it an official game. I was proud we didn't have to worry about it not being an official game if this did come in," Phillips said.
The Lady Trojans plated a pair of runs in the home half of the first after Ansley Barge led off with a double and Carlie Monsour switched places with her on an RBI two-bagger of her own. Monsour scored on an attempted double-steal where Carrollton was thrown out at second.
In the second, Allie Threadgill reached on a three-base throwing error on a bunt and came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Zahri Dunson.
Carrollton added three runs in the fourth with a two-out rally, where Dunson roped an RBI double off the left-field fence and Barge followed with an RBI single. Threadgill, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, scored on a wild pitch to stretch the score to 6-0.
The Lady Raiders got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth after three straight hits, the last of which being an RBI single from Kaitlin Walden, to pull within five.
Carrollton immediately got the run back with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the frame when freshman Scout Jennings skied a shot over the center field fence to make it 7-1.
Jennings' blast deep into the September sky unleashed some fury from Mother Nature, however, as lightning and rain ensued, ultimately resulting in the game getting called early.
Phillips noted that it was good to get the offense going early on Tuesday and not be in a position where they needed runs late in the game.
Barge (2-for-3, SB, 2B, run, RBI) and Jennings (2-for-3, HR) had multiple-hit efforts for Carrollton.
"We did a good job of getting on the board early and giving Olivia [Fannin] a little bit of a cushion there. They're probably the most improved team in our region this year. They swing the bat really well and they've done a really good job of improving themselves," Phillips said. "They're a tough little team to play."
"I tell you, she's really stepped up and I've seen a different level of maturity in her on the mound. She's just really done a good job of shouldering that load while we've got a teammate down," Phillips said. "I'm very proud of her and all the others that have been stepping up. We've had Montana [Dallas] out and Carlie Monsour's been out. So we've had several out and they just really pull together as a team. That's what I like."
The Lady Trojans have just two regular-season games remaining before the Region 7-AAAAA Tournament, playing host to Hiram on Thursday at 5:55 p.m. for Senior Night and traveling to Cass next Tuesday for the finale. Carrollton needs to win one of the two games or have Kell lose a game in order to lock up the No. 1 seed and right to host the region tournament.
"It's just been so tough. You never know. Hiram played us pretty close up there. They're an improved team. Every day we go play it seems like we have to come out and really perform our best, which I like it. It's competitive," Phillips said.
Carrollton 13, Cass 5: On Monday evening, the Lady Trojans used a huge offensive effort from catcher Savannah Cook to power past the Lady Colonels. Cook drove home five runs on two singles and a triple.
Fannin earned the win in the circle, tossing six innings and yielding five runs on five hits with 14 strikeouts.
Cook and Fannin had three hits apiece offensively, while Jennings and Dallas had two hits each for Carrollton.