Virginia scored four runs in the first two innings and then relied on great defense and the pitching of Julia Mardigian to knock Georgia out of the Little League 11-12-year-old Southeastern Softball Regional on Sunday afternoon with a 5-1 score. Georgia had only three hits, a single by Jordan Moss in the first inning, a single by Sarah Hatcher in the fourth and a single by Henderson Hurdle in the fifth.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Mardigian: She had three hits, scored twice and knocked in a run and also pitched a complete-game three-hitter to lead the way for Virginia.
Kelly Ayer: The lead-off hitter for Virginia had two hits, scored twice and was on base three times. She started off the game with a double that sparked a two-run first inning.
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Dixiana Sims: The 11-year-old pitcher for Georgia came in to pitch in the third and struck out five batters in the next four innings, while allowing only two hits. She also scored the only Georgia run in the first.
Virginia came ready to play in the first against Georgia ace Sierra Ussery. Ayer led off with a double to left, and Mardigian knocked her in with another clean hit to the outfield. Mardigian advanced to third on a wild pitch and a ground ball and scored on another wild pitch. Virginia scored two more in the second inning on two hits, two walks and an error.
ALSO ON SUNDAY
North Carolina advanced to the championship game with a 9-2 win over Tennessee.
THEY SAID IT
Georgia head coach Dewayne Phillips on the key to the game: “Well, we had three hits in the entire game, so it’s very hard to beat a very good team when you have only three hits. We really did not hit the ball as well as I thought we would in the entire tournament. I don’t know if it was the big ballpark or the nerves or what, but we just never got the bats going.”
Phillips on the experience of playing in the regional: “It was a very special time for us as a team, and I hope that everyone improved as a softball player. I had a lot of fun with these girls, and I will miss all of them. We wanted to win, but we did the best we could.”