Valdosta Daily Times

October 18, 2013

Lowndes Softball sweeps in first round of playoffs

James Washington
Special to the Times

VALDOSTA —  The Lowndes High Vikettes hosted the Tigers of Douglas County in the first round of the Region 1-6A softball playoffs on Wednesday; the Vikettes swept the doubleheader behind a total team performance, 10-0, 14-0.

Pitching has been a big strength of the Vikettes all season long with Crystal Eason and Haley Fowler combining as a potent 1-2 punch on the mound. Lowndes’ fantastic duo kept on rolling in the first round of the postseason against the Tigers.

Eason would be handed the ball in game one and she responded with four shutout innings of no-hit ball, a walk the only blemish on an otherwise perfect outing.

While Eason was shutting down the Douglas County lineup, the Lowndes bats were busy producing a lot of runs.

LaGiah Woods reached base twice in three plate appearances and scoring once.

Becca Prairie and Madison Floyd added three RBIs each with an extra-base hit — Prairie sending one over the fence and Floyd preferring a double as her weapon of choice.

With the game essentially over, perhaps to loosen her up for her game two start, Fowler pitched the final inning before the mercy rule came in effect in a 10-0 contest.

The move looked like it paid immediate dividends as Fowler took the mound to start game two.

Fowler was on top of her game in her four innings of work, striking out eight batters while not allowing a run.

Not only was Fowler incredible with the ball in her hand, but she also showed she knows what to do with a bat; she plated five runs, four coming on a grand slam.

Wendy Palmer and Woods also added two hits, two runs, and one RBI in the 14-0 game which was called after four innings.

With the win, the Vikettes move to the second round of the playoffs – head coach Stewart Thomas’ favorite time of the year.

“This is a great time of year,” said Thomas. “Especially when you have a chance to advance in the playoffs. We played well in both games and made the adjustments when we needed to. We still must continue to get better, because we have a very tough opponent in Hillgrove knocking at our door. But at this point in the year, they are all solid opponents with one goal, and that's to get to Columbus for the finals. That has been our goal since offseason workouts began in January. It will be tough, and we know what Hillgrove will bring to the table, being that they put us out last year. They are a solid team 1-9, well coached, and they play hard. But that's what it is all about. We welcome the challenge. We will be ready.”

Hillgrove will travel south from Cobb County to face the Vikettes at Lowndes in their second round playoff game on Wednesday.

First game starts at 4:30 p.m. and game two will begin at 6:30 p.m.