The Lady Packers (17-14) used four hits — including two for extra bases — and an error to jump out to a 5-0 first-inning lead. They added two more in the fourth before South Cobb (20-10) rallied to pull within three after scoring four runs in the top of the fifth.
However, that was as close as the Region 4AAAAAA runner-up Lady Eagles would get.
Colquitt pitcher Ainsley Davis, who allowed four earned runs on four hits and struck out four in a complete game, retired the side in the sixth and seventh innings to preserve the victory and send the Lady Packers into the second round.
Colquitt will face Region 3AAAAAA champion East Coweta next week.
“I am so very proud of this team,” South Cobb coach Mark Collins said. “We had a great year. We won two tournaments, finished runner-up in our region, set the school record for wins in a season, hosted a state playoff series and won a playoff game for the first time.
“It’s baby steps. We’re going to try and take a few more steps in the future. We’re losing three very good seniors, but we have a lot of young, talented girls coming back that have some experience now. This was our first time in a Game 3 situation, and I thought we battled. We swung the bats well all game. (Colquitt County) just caught the ball.”
Colquitt, the No. 3 seed from Region 1AAAAAA, was able to do what South Cobb couldn’t early on —hit the ball into the gaps.
The Lady Packers batted around in the first inning, sending nine batters to the plate and taking the 5-0 lead. Shameka Reynolds and Davis each had singles, Kasie Ricks added an RBI triple and Cheyenne Sumner belted an RBI double. Taylor Owens reached on an error and scored on Davis’ single, while Cheyenne Tillman and Amber King each had sacrifice flies.
An error on a fly ball in the outfield — which would have been the third out — contributed to Colquitt’s two runs in the fourth and a 7-0 margin.
After being no-hit through four innings, despite putting the ball in play on every at-bat, South Cobb finally found the gaps in the Lady Packers’ defense and came alive in the fifth behind freshmen Desirae Rhodes, Terilyn Harris and Emily Cargle. Rhodes and Harris hit consecutive singles, and Cargle’s single plated Rhodes for the Lady Eagles’ first score.
After Ariell Lebouf and Keajuana Crymes reached on fielder’s choices to load the bases with one out, Asia Moore then blasted a bases-clearing triple down the first-base line to trim the deficit to three.
A problem with the pitching rubber coming loose in the dirt caused a stoppage of play, and when play resumed after about 5 minutes, Davis squelched South Cobb’s rally with consecutive outs, and the Lady Eagles never recovered after that.
“We gave up some stuff early and made some mistakes,” Collins said. “But I’m not going to dwell on the loss. We hit the ball hard all game, but Colquitt County’s a good defensive team and they didn’t make any mistakes.
“We had a chance at the end and could have folded early, but we hung around and made things interesting.”
Reynolds was 4-for-4 and scored twice for Colquitt, while Davis batted 2-for-3 with an RBI and Sumner was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Owens doubled and scored twice.
South Cobb pitcher Brittany Rhodes allowed seven runs — three earned — off 10 hits and struck out two in six innings.