Pitching leads Georgia in softball regional

sports@macon.comJuly 25, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Georgia cruised to an easy 6-0 win over South Carolina on Thursday in the opening Pool A game for both teams at the Little League Softball Southeastern Regional Tournament.

The Georgians, represented by Toccoa Little League, sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and collected four runs, never looking back.

“We always get off to a big start in the first inning,” Georgia manager Allen Dunson said. “We’ve been doing that through district and state. We seem to back off a little bit after that and then we step it back up, but that’s how we’ve been doing it from the get-go.”

Georgia was dominant on the mound. Starting pitcher Mackenzie Rogers picked up the victory, striking out three batters in her two innings of work.

Natalie Morgan and Emma Whitfield combined to strike out nine over the final four innings, to secure the three-hit shutout win.

“That’s my three main pitchers,” Dunson said. “We’ve been going with them through every tournament, just two (innings), two and two. They’ve come through for me in every game.”

Even with a trip to the World Series in Portland, Ore., on the line this week, Dunson believes his girls are very relaxed and focused on the task ahead.

“I don’t think they’ve got nerves,” Dunson said. “Eight of these girls went up to Virginia to play two years ago, so they have some experience. I think it’s worse for the parents, and worse for me being a parent and a coach.”

Pool A also consists of the champions from Florida and North Carolina.

West Virginia scored 10 runs in the first inning and took advantage of seven errors to roll past Alabama 18-1 in four innings.

Rianna Kingery, Charlee Mullins and Laynee Farley teamed to strike out eight and throw a one-hitter.

Florida got enough in the third inning and held on to beat North Carolina 3-1, K. Jackson driving in two runs on two hits for the winners.

Tennessee knocked off Virginia 6-3 in the final game of the day.

Georgia takes on North Carolina at 7 p.m. on Friday.

“I’m just gonna tell them to be ready to play ball,” Dunson said. “Just come back (Friday) with the same attitude, keep your heads up, and we can go a long ways.”

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