The Lady Hawks (14-6, 3-3) and Lady Hoyas (16-8, 4-3) each have one region game remaining and will compete as part of a double-elimination region tournament that begins Oct. 1. That tournament will determine the region’s third- and fourth-seeded teams for the state playoffs.
Hillgrove pitcher Abby Evans was a key reason for Harrison’s scoring woes, giving up four hits and striking out eight in a complete-game victory. Evans stranded a total of six runners, including three in scoring position, and she was also 2-for-3 from the plate.
“Abby did a great job (Thursday), and we got some really good hits,” Hillgrove coach Laura Voyles said. “We’re definitely going uphill a little bit, which is a good sign. Our young kids are putting it together at the right time of the year, and Rachel Jarvis gave us a big hit at the right time to help with the lead. I feel like the girls are starting to get it done.”
Jarvis, who batted 2-for-4, led off the third with a solo home run to put Hillgrove in front 2-0. The Lady Hoyas scored their first run in the second when Michelle Forrester scored off an error in center field.
Forrester walked to begin the frame, reached second on a throwing error and moved to third on Ambria Derry’s two-out single to center. The error then allowed Forrester to continue home for a 1-0 Lady Hawks margin.
Hillgrove tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Pierce Fox.
Maddie Garner, who led off with a single, was replaced by pinch-runner Taylor DeCelles. Kathryn Jackson then walked, and Qiley Lewis’ sacrifice bunt moved each runner up a base. Derry, who as 2-for-3 with an RBI, singled home DeCelles for the 3-0 lead.
“This was a good win for us,” Voyles said. “We’ve bumped up in the region seedings and control our own destiny to host part of the tournament. We get a lot of fans at home and away games, but it’s 10 times better at home for the girls because they’re just more comfortable.”
Emily Stallings was 2-for-3 for Harrison. Kaci Giles and Josie Huddleston each had doubles and batted 1-for-3.
Starting pitcher Brooke Taylor allowed two runs — one earned — on five hits and struck out three in five innings.
“We’ve battled the injury bug all year, and our top three pitchers have missed periods of time in our lineup,” Harrison coach Matt Jones said. “That’s when other people need to step up, and that hasn’t been happening as much as we’d like.
“We’re finally starting to get healthy, though, and I think we’ll be a dangerous team and make a run if we get to make the state tournament.”