COLUMBUS -- One play. One out. One inning.

The difference between playing long into the Columbus night or playing the "what could have been" game.

Snellville-Brookwood scored five seventh-inning runs, four with two outs, to send the Lady Broncos past Lowndes, 5-1, in an elimination game Friday at the Class AAAAA fast-pitch state softball tournament.

Lowndes, which had beaten Stockbridge earlier in day, claimed one out of three games here. The Lady Vikings finished the season 26-4.

Brookwood (28-13) advanced to an elimination game in the final four later Friday night.

"It's nothing to be ashamed of. It was a matter of inches," said Lowndes High head coach Nick Petro. "They played their hearts out. The momentum didn't go our way. We thought we had it."

Susan Lanier's over-the-fence home run to open the seventh inning evened the game at 1-1. After two outs, Brookwood pieced together four hits and a walk to break the game open.

Winning pitcher Lisa Norris broke the tie with a bases-loaded single to left, ending the day for Lowndes starter Sara McMichael. Debbie Williams' single to right off reliever Kristin Lindsey drove home the last two runs.

"The name of the game is finishing strong. They came very close to doing that today," Petro said. "We just couldn't get that third out."

McMichael held down Brookwood on five hits through the first six innings. She got help defensively, especially in the third when right fielder Brittany Lindsey first made a running catch, then teamed with first baseman Kristin McLeod and catcher Lauren Lineberger to get a runner at the plate.

Shortstop Jade Jarvis, McLeod and third baseman Amy Gaiss also came together for a first-to-third double play to end the fifth.

Lowndes had only one hit through three innings, a Brittany Mederos infield single. But in the fourth, Lauren Rowe led off with an excuse-me infield grounder on which Brookwood threw wildly to first. An out later, Gaiss singled to left. Then McLeod singled off the third baseman's glove to score Rowe.

At that point Norris, a freshman, replaced Carrie Gjvere. She got the last two outs of the fourth, and allowed just two Lowndes runners to reach second in the last three innings.

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LOWNDES 5, STOCKBRIDGE 3: The Lady Vikings broke a 3-3 tie with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Winning pitcher Shelli Sirmans started the tiebreaking rally with a leadoff single in the sixth. Pinch-runner Jessi Croft, promoted to the varsity this week after Melissa Brown's injury (broken finger), advanced to an unoccupied third base on Brittany Lindsey's sacrifice bunt. Croft scored on a wild pitch.

In the seventh, Rowe walked with one out. After Jarvis' single, Rowe scored on McLeod's single to center.

Lowndes had scored a run in the second (McLeod doubled and scored on Lindsey's sacrifice fly) and two runs in the third (Jarvis' RBI double and McLeod's RBI single).

Stockbridge (24-12) got to Sirmans in the fifth. Two runs scored after back-to-back errors on Jessica Williams' ground ball. Neville Mills followed with an RBI single.

Stockbridge put the tying runs on base with two outs in the seventh before Sirmans fielded the final out.

McLeod was 3-for-4, while Mederos was 2-for-3 and Jarvis 2-for-4 -- combining for Lowndes' seven of its 11 hits. Sirmans gave up seven hits.

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COOK IN FINAL THREE: Cook High won two games Friday to make Saturday's final round in what will be a South Georgia-flavored finale in the Class AAA/AA slow-pitch tournament.

Cook beat West Laurens 13-5 and Bleckley County 9-6 to avoid elimination. The Lady Hornets (26-3) plays Irwin County at 9 a.m. today, with the winner playing unbeaten Appling County for the championship at 11 a.m. An "if necessary" game would follow if someone could hand Appling (28-0) its first loss.

Earlier Friday, Appling beat Irwin, 7-4.

Versus Bleckley, Cook broke a 5-5 tie with four runs in the sixth inning.



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