Valdosta Daily Times

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October 1, 2010

Vikettes blank Tift on Senior Night

VALDOSTA — Lowndes High’s softball team wrapped up a perfect region season with a 3-0 victory over Tift County on Senior Night at the Morris-Coats Field of Dreams.

Ashley Chapman pitched a two-hit shutout, and led the eighth-ranked Vikettes to their 20th victory of the season.

Lowndes closed out the regular season 20-6. The region champion Vikettes had a perfect 8-0 record in Region 1-AAAAA this season.

“It’s exciting for (the players). They deserve it,” Lowndes head coach Alex Gray said. “They started working hard in March, doing offseason workouts, and they worked all the way until the season started. They’re focused this year. Their goal is to get to the Elite Eight.”

On Thursday, Lowndes scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the first. Amanda Newham started the inning with an infield single, then Heather Bishop bunted past the third baseman for a single. Newham was forced out at third on Keri Tompkins’ ground ball to short, but Brooklyn Cauthen followed with a single to left, scoring Bishop to give the Vikettes a 1-0 lead. Then Brittany Britt beat out a single, loading the bases.

Tompkins scored on Alli Coulter’s ground ball to third. Jodi Wisenbaker followed with a single to left, driving in Britt to increase the Vikettes’ lead to 3-0.

Those three runs were more than enough for Chapman. The junior right-hander retired the side in four of the seven innings, and only allowed three runners to reach base. She struck out nine batters.

“(Chapman and the other pitchers) have been great all year,” Gray said.

Tift’s only serious scoring threat came in the top of the third, after Courtney Waldrop led off the inning with a double and took third on a passed ball. But Chapman retired the next three batters on a ground ball back to the pitcher, a strikeout and a ground ball to Cauthen at first, and Waldrop was stranded on third base.

At the plate, Newham and Wisenbaker both went 2 for 3. Cauthen, Coulter and Wisenbaker each drove in a run.

Before Thursday’s game, Lowndes’ seven seniors were recognized. Coulter, Tompkins, Newham, Wisenbaker, Logan Cooper, Britt and Bishop were all playing their final regular season game at the Morris-Coats Field of Dreams.

Gray said this has been a special group of seniors.

“Our senior class is strong — strong in leadership, strong in work ethic. Their desire to play, their desire to win is there, it’s evident, and I couldn’t be more proud of them than I am tonight,” Gray said. “The great thing about them is they’re all going to go on and they’re going to be successful, because they’re great people.”

Lowndes will begin the Class AAAAA state playoffs on either Oct. 13 or Oct. 14, when it hosts the fourth-place team from Region 3-AAAAA.

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