Jones County plays at defending champ Locust Grove today
The Lady Hounds kept rolling last week, winning all three games to improve to 11-0 overall and 6-0 in Region 4-5A.
But it took a fabulous four-run sixth-inning rally against Ola last Tuesday to keep the winning streak alive.
And another big test comes today, when the Lady Hounds visit defending region and state champion Locust Grove at 5:55 p.m. The Lady Wildcats are 12-2 overall and 8-0 in the region, and they are ranked No. 2 in the AJC rankings.
The Lady Hounds host region foe Woodland-Stockbridge at 5:55 p.m. on Thursday.
Jones County, which remained No. 9 in the AJC rankings last week despite its good start, took an early 2-0 lead over Ola in the home game last Tuesday.
Mackenzie Kilpatrick led off the second inning with a triple and scored on a single by Kaitlyn Brower for the Lady Hounds’ first run.
In the third, Kloey Goins reached on an error and eventually scored when Stephanie Youngblood walked with the bases loaded to boost Jones County’s lead to 2-0.
But the Lady Mustangs refused to go quietly.
They threatened in the fourth, loading the bases on a pair of singles and hit batter against Jones County starter Savannah Williams. But freshman Destin Howard came in to strike out Mae Smith to strand the runners.
Ola got one run in the fifth on a walk, a wild pitch and two-out single and error, but Howard held the lead by getting a strikeout with the bases loaded.
She wasn’t as fortunate in the top of the sixth inning, however.
A hit batter and a single and error brought in the tying run. Howard struck out Madison Norrell for the second out, but Marley Holmes followed with a two-run homer to left to give Ola a 4-2 lead.
Williams re-entered the game and gave up a solo home run to Haley Moore to make it 5-2 before getting the final out.
The Lady Hounds would not fold, however.
Pinch hitter Lauren Grace Carr led off with a walk, and pinch runner Maddie Beck went to third when Makinsey Long reached second on an error.
Mayson Watford popped out, but Madison Bennett singled in Beck and made it to second on the throw. Goins grounded out to third, but Brenay Howard followed with a two-run single to tie the game, and Kilpatrick added a runscoring single to give the Lady Hounds the lead.
Williams, finishing up in relief of herself and Howard, retired the side in order in the seventh to secure the victory.
“It was a great win for us,” Jones County coach Blake Lyons said. “We’ve had some easy wins in this streak, but I’ve kept telling the girls that we’re going to get punched in the mouth by someone. The key is how do you react when that happens.
“It was great to see how they battled back and got that win after we fell behind.
“It has been working pretty good for us bringing Destin in to give teams a different look after the first couple of times through the lineup,” Lyons added. “It didn’t work out tonight, but Savannah kept her head in the game when she was sitting out and came back and threw strikes to help us regain control.
“And there in the bottom of the sixth we had some key at-bats – Carr coming off the bench to get on base to start the inning, Long hitting the ball hard, and then the key hits with runners on by Bennett, Brenay and Kilpatrick.”
Williams finished out with four strikeouts as she held Ola to one run on seven hits and a walk in five innings for the win.
The Lady Hounds finished out the week with two more wins with a lot less drama, pounding Veterans 14-4 in five innings on Wednesday and Stockbridge 14-1 in four innings on Thursday.
Watford went the distance in the victory over Veterans at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville. She struck out two, walked one and gave up eight hits in five innings.
Brenay Howard went 3-for-3 with a home run and two doubles and four RBIs, and Long was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs to lead the offense.
At Stockbridge, Jones County fielded a lineup with mostly younger girls starting, and still won easily.
Youngblood went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, Macy Norman was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Kaitlyn Quillen was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs to lead the offense.
Destin Howard allowed one unearned run on one hit and a walk and struck out seven over four innings for the victory.