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KENNESAW — After dropping the opener of the Class AAAAAAA state tournament 4-1 to Camden County on Wednesday, Harrison’s offense came alive in an 11-1 five-inning win.

“They were just nerves,” Harrison coach Matt Jones said. “It doesn’t matter how many games you play. When you turn the lights on in October, it’s a little different.”

Game 2 began with a play that could have kept the run of misfortune going for Harrison (18-7).

With the bases loaded, freshman cleanup hitter Maren Lipani came to the plate and blooped a ball and landed just in front of the glove of Camden County’s center fielder. The runner from third base scored, but the other two baserunners froze in what turned into an 8-5-4 double play that left Lipani as the only baserunner at first.

“We just came back and didn’t think about the past and tried our best,” said Lipani, who said she did not see the ball drop as she ran to first base. “We wanted to come back and keep our season going.”

Instead of letting the baserunning issue bother them, Harrison continued to press on offense. Kyndall Rackley doubled Lipani home, and the Lady Hoys’ offense then exploded for three runs in the third, four in the fourth and two more insurance runs in the fifth inning to even the series.

“We’ve had to work through a lot of adversity this year, we’ve had a lot of things to work through, but it was good to see that response because we’ve had to do it all year in different circumstances,” Jones said. “It’s kind of what we expected, to get in there and get off the mat and fight.

“They very easily could have been, ‘Here we go again,’ but we were able to keep our focus and keep on attacking and keep the pressure on them.”

Alena Ball was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, Baileigh Rouse was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Lipani was 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the opener for Harrison. Mackenzie Kirby, meanwhile, allowed four hits with seven strikeouts in the five-inning Game 2 win.

The teams were set to meet in the series’ rubber game Thursday.

In the opener, Harrison scored its only run in the first inning of a 4-1 loss.

Saylor McNearney singled and then scored on an error. From there, the Lady Hoyas were limited to five more hits but they were split up amongst four different innings.

Only one Harrison runner, Lexi Caruso, got past first base and that was with two outs in the bottom of the seventh before Camden County starter Amzy Cody Red Cloud got out of the jam for a complete-game victory.


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