Bounce back to down Woodland at home after falling to Houston County, Locust Grove on the road
The week they jumped to No. 1 in the state Class 5A softball rankings, the Lady Hounds crashed back to earth with their first two losses of the season.
Jones County lost 5-1 in a nonregion game at Houston County last Tuesday, then was trounced 10-0 by defending region and state champion Locust Grove on the road Wednesday.
The Lady Hounds bounced back with three home runs against Woodland-Stockbridge at home on Thursday for a 9-3 victory, then added a 9-1 road win at Strong Rock Christian School on Monday to make them 13-2 overall and 7-1 in Region 4-5A play.
That keeps Jones County second in the region standings behind Locust Grove. Union Grove is third and Ola fourth.
Jones County hosts Union Grove at 5:55 p.m. Thursday before heading to Gwinnett County to play in the Grayson Invitational Friday and Saturday. The Lady Hounds play Norcross and Oconee County Friday and East Coweta Saturday.
The Lady Hounds jumped from No. 9 to No. 1 in the Score Atlanta rankings last week, one spot ahead of Locust Grove, but they had already lost to Houston County when the poll was published. They are likely to drop back down when the new rankings come out today.
Jones County coach Blake Lyons is more concerned with how his team played in the two losses, however.
“We didn’t have a good game at Houston County. We didn’t pitch well, and we didn’t get hits when we needed them. That’s something we’ve done pretty well all season, but not down at Houston County the other day.
“Then at Locust Grove, they just played super. They could have beaten anyone that day,” Lyons said of the Wildcats.
“But I was happy to see the way we came back against Woodland. Started a little slow, but then we got the bats going and used some home runs to come back. And Mayson Watford did a good job pitching for us, hung in there after one shaky inning and finished it out.”
Watford went the distance against Woodland, striking out four and holding the Wolfpack to three runs on eight hits and two walks through seven innings.
The visitors got all their runs in the top of the third to take a 3-0 lead. But the Lady Hounds got home runs from Mackenzie Kilpatrick and Destin Howard to storm back with five runs in the bottom of the inning, then added one in the fifth and three in the third.
Kilpatrick’s blow was a grand slam after a pair of walks and a single. Destin Howard followed with a solo shot to center.
Destin Howard also hit a three-run homer in the sixth for the Lady Hounds.
At Strong Rock on Monday, Madison Bennett went 3-for-3 with two doubles and scored two runs, Watford was 2-for-2 with two runs, and Kloey Goins drove in three runs, including a two-run triple in the fourth.
Destin Howard also drove in three with a sacrifice fly and two-run double, and Stephanie Youngblood had a solo home run.
Destin Howard got the win, holding Strong Rock hitless through three innings with five strikeouts but walking four and giving up an unearned run. Savannah Williams finished, holding Strong Rock scoreless on one hit and striking out five in two innings.
Jones County took a 1-0 lead in the first at Houston County last week and held it until the sixth when the Lady Bears scored all five of their runs on five singles and two walks.
Watford started and held Houston scoreless on five hits and two walks through five innings. But the Lady Bears mauled Williams and Destin Howard in the sixth inning.
Destin Howard went 3-for-3 for the Lady Hounds, but they managed only four other hits on the night.
Locust Grove’s Brooke Mccubin held Jones County to three hits on Wednesday, striking out eight in the shutout.
Williams and Destin Howard both struggled pitching. Williams gave up six runs on nine hits in three innings, and Howard gave up four runs on two hits and four walks in the final 1 1/3 inning.