The Lady Grizzlies swept Apalachee 3-0 and 11-2 on Wednesday to advance to the championship bracket of the Class AAAAA state softball tournament. They will play the winner of the best-of-three series between Harris County and Northgate on Thursday in Columbus.
Creekview (25-9), the only team from Cherokee County still in the running for a state title, is returning to Columbus for the third time, but just the first since 2010.
“We don’t know who will be playing yet, but anyone who has made it this far is going to be a good team,” said coach Chance Cain, who was an assistant to Mike Nayman on the previous Columbus teams. “We just have to be prepared.”
Gracie Dorr was the star of Game 1 as she struck out 12 batters over seven innings. She gave up just two hits in the shutout.
Creekview pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the third inning to break the scoreless tie.
Taylor Petty doubled to lead off the inning, and she moved to third on a single by Madison Dionne. Cynda Tate’s single drove in Petty as Dionne advanced to third, and Dionne came around to score two batters later when Casee Disharoon hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Lady Grizzles tacked on an insurance run in the sixth. Tiffany Godfrey singled and was replaced on the basepaths by Avery Pickerill. After Tiffany Jordan and Savanna Gruber both reach on errors, Pickerill scored to make it 3-0.
Creekview totaled just five hits in the game, with no more than one by any single player.
Game 2, however, was a different story.
Creekview fell behind 2-0 in the first inning as Dorr, once more in the circle, gave up singles to the first two batters she faced. Both of the baserunners eventually scored on a single to right field as Apalachee put three of its first five batters on base.
Dorr worked out of the inning with a pop fly and a strikeout.
After a scoreless second, Creekview evened the score in the third before steadily pulling away.
The Lady Grizzlies added three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to go up 7-2. The sixth inning was scoreless before Creekview added four runs to make the final score 11-2.
“This is a pretty big step for the team,” Cain said. “Winning the way that we did (Wednesday) was a bit of a statement for us. The girls are all excited to be in the elite eight. It’s pretty big for the program.”
Tate finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs, a double and a run scored. Gruber went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Jordan was 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Petty was also 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run, while Dionne was 2-for-3 with a double two runs scored. Godfrey connect for a solo shot in the fifth inning for her only hit of the game.
Dorr lasted the entire game to pick up her second win of the night and her third win of the playoffs. Aside from the two runs in the first inning, she held Apalachee and allowed just six hits and a walk while striking out seven.
“It was a good night, not just for me, but for the team,” Dorr said.