COLUMBUS -- Houston County put together two wins Thursday to earn one of the final two winners bracket spots in the GHSA Class AAAAA softball championships.
The Bears defeated Pope 2-0 on Thursday night for a spot in Fridays 7 p.m. winners bracket game against Northgate.
Earlier Thursday, Houston Countys Haley Tierce hit a three-run homer and the Bears turned three double plays to win their first-round game, defeating Winder-Barrow 7-4 at South Commons softball complex.
In other action, FPD lost 3-1 to Brookstone while Heritage beat Perry 2-0.
Houston County took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first only to give up two runs to the Bulldogs in the bottom of the frame. Kelly Warner scored on Carson Carrikers single for the run for the Bears.
Houston County tied it at 2 in the second when Taylor Brown scored on an error by Winder-Barrow pitcher Erin Harbin after walking and moving up on a sacrifice.
Then came the fourth for Houston County as Warner hit an RBI double, and after Amber Cey reached, Tierce hit a three-run shot for a 6-2 lead.
That hit was a big one for us. Haley is as hot as can be right now, and she centered that pitch, Houston County head coach Angela Crawford said. When Winder rallied and loaded the bases in the fifth, we were able to trade runs for outs because we were up four.
Winder-Barrow loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs and scored two runs on groundouts to make it 6-4. The Bears added an insurance run in the sixth when Autumn Ring legged out a double and scored on Warners single.
In the seventh, Houston County turned its third double play, and then a groundout to second ended the contest.
The defense helped, and thats the way it has been all year, our team just keeps fighting, said Crawford, whose team took on Pope late Thursday in a winners bracket contest.
FPDs loss dropped it into the losers bracket, and the Vikings will play Darlington at 9 a.m. on Friday.
We just did not put the ball in play enough, and they did, FPD head coach Jim Turner said. Both pitchers I felt pitched well, but we didnt get the hits when we needed.
The Cougars broke to a 1-0 lead before the Vikings tied it in the sixth when Jill Rogers beat out an infield hit, went to second on a wild pitch and scored when Elle Turner threw away Carli Collins bunt.
But Brookstone came back in the seventh and scored two runs, one on a RBI single by DP Taylor Roos and an error to make it 3-1. Maggie Renfroe for FPD singled in the 7th but got no further than second when the game ended.
Perry competed in a pitchers duel with Sabrina Doucette pitching in the first round of Class AAAA play against Heritage, whose winning pitcher was Lauren Lawson. Doucette gave up only six hits, but Perry only had four off Lawson.
Heritage broke up the scoreless tie when Krissi Prewitt reached on an error and scored on freshman Sydney Smiths triple down the right-field line. Perry drops to the losers bracket and will meet South Effingham at 11 a.m. on Friday.
In other Middle Georgia action, GMC beat Treutlen 8-0, Telfair County beat Seminole County 6-3 and Schley County beat Hawkinsville 15-3 in the Class A public tournament.
In Class AA, Jeff Davis lost 12-0 to Dade County.