Archer (33-7) scored two runs in each of the second and fourth innings, then added one run in each of the final three frames to take the title. Kennesaw Mountain (33-5-2) scored twice in the fourth to trail 4-2, and two more times in the sixth for a 6-4 deficit, before stranding runners on second and third in the final inning of the contest. The Lady Mustangs also committed five errors in the game, with two of Archer’s seven runs unearned.
Kennesaw Mountain had beaten Collins Hill 2-1 in the losers’ bracket championship to reach the title game. The Lady Mustangs went 4-2 at the state finals and ended the season with their first runner-up finish.
“To battle back through the losers’ bracket to make the championship game says a lot about this team,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Lisa Chapman said. “I told the girls, ‘We may not have finished as state champions, but nobody battled harder than us over these past three days.’
“Archer has a really good pitcher who’s going to Georgia Tech next year, and we went toe-to-toe with her and made it as hard as possible. You take away our errors and we were right there with them.”
Three straight singles and a wild pitch led to Archer’s first run of the game, and Kristin Hawkins’ sacrifice fly plated the second.
Alesha Mann’s triple in the fourth scored Brittany Maresette, and a two-out error allowed Mann to score for the 4-0 lead.
Kennesaw Mountain’s Chandler Stooksbury reached base on a two-out error in the bottom of the fourth and scored on Bekah Farris’ double. Madi Lewis then singled home courtesy runner Brennan Phillips for the 4-2 margin.
Archer’s fifth inning run also scored off a two-out error, and Alliyah Williams’ two-out single in the sixth extended the advantage to 6-2.
“I think we were a little fatigued from all of these games, and we only had 13 minutes to prepare for Archer,” Chapman said. “That may have played a part in all of the errors.”
Stooksbury, who was 1-for-4 and scored twice, singled in the sixth, and moved to third on Farris’ second double of the game. One batter later, Kathryn Woody, who batted 2-for-3, laced a two-run single down the left-field line to plate Stooksbury and Farris to trim the deficit to 6-4.
A leadoff walk in the seventh resulted in a RBI single for Jenna Graham for the final 7-4 score.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this senior class,” Chapman said. “They set the school record for wins in a season and wins for a career. This was definitely a team effort. There was no quit in anybody, and everybody gave everything they had.”
Farris, who was 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, allowed four runs — three earned — off seven hits and two walks and struck out five in 3 2/3 innings. Woody pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief, giving up two runs — one earned — off three hits. Amanda Hallman allowed one earned run on one hit and walked two in the seventh.
Cabrales gave up four runs — three earned — off 10 hits and struck out four for Archer.
In the losers’ bracket final with Collins Hill, Kennesaw Mountain rallied from a 1-0 deficit to eliminate the Lady Eagles, who had won the last three Class AAAAA state championships.
Farris ran into trouble in the third. Seven batters came to the plate in the inning as she gave up a hit and a walk, and the Lady Mustangs defense added two errors to contribute to the run. Brea Dickey singled to begin the frame and scored off a two-out error on the shortstop.
However, with the bases loaded, Farris forced a fly out to right field to limit the damage, giving Kennesaw Mountain the chance at the comeback.
That opportunity arose for the Lady Mustangs in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back singles from Hallman and Molly Uhrman left two on with no outs, and. Stooksbury’s sacrifice bunt advanced each runner one base.
Farris’ fielder’s choice plated Hallman for the tying run, and Madi Lewis’ groundout scored Uhrman with the go-ahead run.
Woody pitched four strong innings of relief for Kennesaw Mountain, and the Lady Mustangs’ defense provided help.
Woody gave up a leadoff double to the first batter she faced in the fourth, but an attempted sacrifice bunt resulted in a double play. Morgan Howard caught the bunt for a foul out and then threw out the runner at second when center fielder Kimmie Strebe ran in to play the base.
A similar scenario presented itself in the fifth. With one out and runners on first and second, Woody fielded a bunt, but threw to third baseman Uhrman for a force out.
Farris gave up one unearned run on two hits and struck out three, while Woody allowed no runs on four hits.
Collins Hill starter Amanda Chance gave up two earned runs on two hits.