Prep softball: FCHS falls to Perry Central in 3
NEW AUGUSTA — The Franklin County Lady Bulldogs surprised a lot of people by pushing the fourth-ranked and Division 8-3A champion Perry Central Lady Bulldogs to a third and deciding game Tuesday in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs.
But in the end, Perry Central had too much talent and firepower for Franklin County as the host Lady Bulldogs defeated the visiting Lady Bulldogs 13-3 in five innings in Game 3 to advance to the second round.
“The other team wanted it more,” Franklin County head coach Dana Smith said. “We didn’t play steady and solid. We didn’t play at a playoff level.”
Franklin County, the runner-up in Division 7-3A, definitely did not play at that type of level in Games 1 and 3 of the best-of-three series.
In the first game, an 8-2 win by Perry Central, Franklin County was held to just four hits and struck out three times against winning pitcher Terrah Clifton. Losing pitcher Shelly Case gave up 13 hits and the defense behind her committed eight errors.
The visiting Lady Bulldogs managed to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the third inning, but a five-run rally by the host Lady Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth put the game away.
Franklin County won the second game 3-2 as Case allowed just two runs, one earned, on six hits with just one walk.
“She pitched really well. She had good arc on her pitches. She did a good job of keeping them off balance,” Smith said.”
Sierra Bethley went 2-for-3 and had the big hit of the game with an RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth inning that helped give the ‘home’ team a 3-1 lead.
Clifton was shaky on the mound for Perry Central as she gave up 10 hits, walked three and struck out two over six innings.
Game 3, however, belonged to Perry Central. A four-run rally in the bottom of the first inning gave the home team a 4-1 lead and a three-run home run with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning by Chasity Jordan ended the game.
Jaleshia Bethley went 2-for-2 with a double and a triple while Sierra Bethley and Emilee Wallace both went 2-for-2 to lead Franklin County at the plate. Jordan was 2-for-4, Laken Pipkens was 3-for-3 and Caitlin Solloman was 3-for-4.
As if Perry Central’s 14 hits wasn’t bad enough, Franklin County committed nine errors.
“All three games were games of what team wanted it the most,” Smith said.
Franklin County finished its season with a 9-18 overall record.