VALDOSTA -- Lowndes High's hopes of winning its own softball tournament fell one run short Saturday.
Lowndes lost the championship game of the Vikette Invitational's gold division 2-1 to Region 1-AAAAA rival Tift County Saturday at Freedom Park. Rebecca Johnson had two RBI singles, and that was all the offense Tift would need.
The game was a pitcher's duel between All-Region pitchers Alden Pope of Lowndes and Janna Shiver of Tift County. Pope held the Lady Blue Devils to five hits and two runs, both earned, striking out three. Shiver was even better, holding the Vikettes to just one run and two hits. Shiver also struck out 14 batters.
Tift got its first run in the bottom of the first. With one out, Imesha Wells took a Pope pitch in the side, and was awarded first base. Shiver sacrificed her to second. Then Johnson lined a single into left field, and Wells raced around to score.
Krystle Robinson quickly tied the game for Lowndes. Leading off the top of the second, Robinson ripped Shiver's pitch over the temporary fence in left center field for a home run, evening the score.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the fifth.
In the fifth, Pope quickly retired the first two batters. But then Wells and Shiver singled, putting two runners on for Johnson. Johnson lined the ball up the middle. Lowndes second baseman Leah Taylor dove and stopped the ball, but could not make the play. Wells, running on contact, scored from second, to give Tift a 2-1 lead.
Lowndes got a pair of runners on in the top of the sixth with one out, but then Shiver bore down for a strikeout and a ground out, and escaped the LHS threat.
Wells, Shiver and Johnson, Tift's 2-4 hitters, combined for four of the team's five hits. Robinson and Kate Pennington had Lowndes' two hits.
Lowndes reached the championship game by defeating Baldwin 11-1 and Lee County 1-0 earlier Saturday. Tift defeated another Region 1-AAAAA team, Houston County, 2-0 in its semifinal game to reach the championship against the Vikettes.
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