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Starks’ home run lifts Franklin County past Hazlehurst

HAZLEHURST — With the game tied at 5-5 and extra innings looming, Franklin County’s Jamecia Starks came up with the big hit of the game, a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 6-5 win over the Hazlehurst Lady Indians in an MHSAA Division 7-3A game Tuesday afternoon.

Hazlehurst had rallied from an early 4-0 deficit with a five-run rally in the bottom of the third inning. That was the only blemish in an otherwise solid outing by Franklin County and winning pitcher Shelly Case.

The Lady Bulldogs scored one run in the top of the fourth to tie it up before Starks came through in the clutch two innings later. Case preserved the win with back-to-back shutout innings.

Starks also had a double and went 2-for-3. Case gave up five earned runs on 13 hits and she struck out four batters in a complete-game performance. Sierra Bethley also had a big game at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a two-run triple in the top of the first inning.

Of those 13 hits Hazlehurst had, six occurred in the bottom of the fifth, including a two-run double by Tisnisha Brown and an RBI double by Maria Reed. The Lady Indians also scored on a groundout and a two-out single.

Another factor for the Lady Bulldogs was a strong showing by the defense, which committed no errors.

Franklin County (5-16, 2-2) will look to keep its postseason hopes alive when it hosts Crystal Springs at 7 p.m. Thursday.