Georgia’s seven-game winning streak in all-star competition came to a halt Friday afternoon when Tennessee scored five runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-1 win in the Southeastern Softball Regional.
Tennessee put together four hits to go with two walks, an error and a hit batter to rally from a 1-0 deficit, and pitcher Sydney Weatherford did the rest, holding Georgia to only four hits.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Weatherford: The Tennessee lefty struck out three hitters and allowed only one run in a complete-game win. The Tennessee defense was stellar behind her, making only one error.
Sierra Ussery: Georgia’s pitcher shut down Tennessee for the first three innings and also ripped a double that rolled all the way to the fence to score score pinch-runner Dana Walker for the only Georgia run.
Henderson Hurdle: Hurdle led the way for Georgia with two hits and a walk.
The top of the fourth was pivotal for Georgia. Hurdle led off with a single, and Megan Sharpe followed with a pop-up between the pitcher and the second baseman, which was dropped. Tennessee pick up the ball and threw to second, and Hurdle beat the throw to second but was called out because sliding head first is illegal in Little League play when the runner is trying to advance to a base. Ussery knocked in Walker with a double, but Ussery was thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
Tough defense: Georgia struck out eight times in its first-round win over Florida and did a much better job of putting the ball in play, striking out only three times. But several good defensive plays were too much to overcome.
The five runs scored by Tennessee were the most runs given up by Georgia in all-star play.
North Carolina remained undefeated in the tournament with a 13-0 win over South Carolina.
THEY SAID IT
Georgia coach Dewayne Phillips on the sliding head first rule: “Most of our kids play travel ball, and they can slide head first into any base, and it was really my fault because I didn’t let them know the rule.”
Phillips on any silver lining from the loss: “We just can’t let the girls get too down, and we just have to come back and fight. One bad inning can kill any team. Tennessee played excellent defense against us, and you can’t give a good team too many chances.”
Phillips on his team’s play in the first two games: “We have not been at our best, and I am very surprised that we haven’t hit the ball better than we have. Hopefully, we will continue to get better every game and that has to start on Saturday against West Virginia.”
Georgia faces West Virginia at 4 p.m. on Saturday in an elimination game.