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Lady Hounds in driver’s seat, eye top seed

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    Shayla Pennington got the win for Jones County against Woodland, helping the Lady Hounds stay unbeaten in region play. BRAD HARRISON/Staff
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Aniya Canty (22) hit a two-run double to help lead the Lady Greyhounds in the late innings against Woodland. BRAD HARRISON/Staff
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    Shayla Pennington (26) and Destin Howard scoring Jones County’s first runs of the game against Woodland. BRAD HARRISON/Staff
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Megan Hamilton (25) waits for the right pitch before reaching base against Woodland. BRAD HARRISON/Staff

Lady Greyhounds head coach Tripp Burt is not sure exactly how many years it has been since JCHS had hosted a region tournament. JCHS, however, is in position to do that in just a few weeks.

This year in GHSA Region 4-AAAAA, the team with the best regular season earns the right to host the region tournament that’s comprised of the region’s top four teams following the end of the regular season.

“It’s been a few years since Jones County hosted a region tournament,” Burt said. “We’d like to get back to that.”

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Jones County finds itself in the driver’s seat toward doing that following Friday’s 4-2 win against Ola to run its region record to 7-0 as the region schedule reached roughly its halfway point. The win came one day after pulling out a tough 5-4 win against Woodland. Jones County, which hosted Stockbridge on Tuesday, goes to Union Grove on Thursday and hosts Ola Monday.

“Doing what we did Friday against Ola puts us right in the position we want to be in,” Burt said. “It puts us in the driver’s seat If we take care of what we should, we’ll be right where we want to be.”

Friday’s win against Ola preceded a pair of games on Saturday against West Laurens and Vidalia, capping five games in four days. JCHS fell 4-3 to West Laurens despite six Lady Greyhounds having at least one hit. Against Vidalia, a 1-0 JCHS win, Destin Howard pitched a two-hit shutout with Taylor Trefelner driving in the game’s only run.

“When you play five games in four days and you’re tired, you see how people react in uncomfortable situations and who can get things done, when it’s not comfortable,” Burt said.

Georgia commit Destin Howard, who got the save against Woodland on Thursday, went the full seven innings against Ola on Friday, striking out ten and giving up two runs on four hits. Leading you 2-1, a pair of sixth-inning insurance runs padded the lead, which ended up coming in handy as the Mustangs got s a single run in the sixth but no more than that.

Howard scored the Lady Greyhounds first run, leading off the fourth with a single and scoring two batters later on a single by Kate Cole, who came home one batter later on an Aniya Canty single.

After Ola cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Taylor Nipper and Cole each reached on an error in the sixth, eventually scoring to extend the lead to 4-1.

Canty had three hits and two RBIs in the 4-2 win.

A day earlier against Woodland, the pitching of Shayla Pennington had r the Lady Greyhounds in a pitcher’s duel with the Lady Greyhounds trailing 1-0 through four innings. JCHS ervi got on the board in the fifth inning as Pennington helped herself, leading off with a single before Howard would do the same. Both would score two batters later on a double by Canty.

Pennington extended the Jones County lead in the sixth when she doubled in Kimber Kent, who reached on a bunt. Howard widened the Lady Greyhounds advantage even more one batter later with a two-run homer and 5-1 lead. That measure of insurance ended up being enough, as Woodland’s rally came up a run shy of tying the score with Howard striking out three hitters in a row for the win and the save. Howard had three hits against Woodland with Kent and Pennington ce having two.