Andalusia’s Paige Caraway allowed one run on seven hits and struck out 11 in five innings to help lead her team to the Class 4A, Area 3, title over Clarke County Thursday at the Andalusia Sports Complex.
“Once (Caraway) gets warmed up, she’s at her best,” Andalusia coach Marcus Taylor said. “She did a great job.”
Andalusia scored six runs on six hits and two walks in the bottom of the fourth to seize a 12-1 win over Clarke County.
In the area series with Hillcrest-Evergreen, Clarke County and Thomasville, Andalusia swept Hillcrest and Clarke County, and split with Thomasville.
Taylor said he believes the team is “peaking” at the right time.
“We’re hitting the ball better now than any time this year,” he said. “As a coach, wanting to peak at the end of the year — I couldn’t be happier about that.”
Clarke County drew first blood in the top of the first inning on a single by L. Law that brought R. Browlee across the home plate.
Andalusia (22-11, 5-1) added two runs in the bottom of the second to take the lead on a sac fly from Ellie Pollock and an RBI from Kristen Finley to score Sam Greene and Emily Terry, respectively.
Throughout Clarke County’s time at bat, Caraway found her spots, causing two pop ups behind the plate to fellow teammate and junior catcher A.C. Riley, in addition to the many strikeouts.
After the second inning, Clarke County only had four hits.
Andalusia took a 4-1 lead in the third inning and never looked back with the help of the six-run fourth.
In the third, Andalusia courtesy runners Omarria McGee and Erica Staley both scored on a single from Megan Pugh.
Pugh came through for her team in the fourth when she hit a three-run double to score Staley, Terry and Kelsey Ramirez.
Before Pugh hit her three-run double in the fourth, Jessica Park scored on an RBI double from Riley, who later scored on an error.
Pugh later came to score on a sacrifice grounder from Pollock.
To seal the win and the No. 1 seed going into the area tournament next Thursday, Greene hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth to score McGee and Caraway.
Taylor added that the girls are doing exactly what he asks of them.
“You hope that (the late peaking) carries on in the area tournament, and I feel like it will,” Taylor said. “I’m just proud for these girls. These girls have done everything I’ve asked them to do and I’ve asked them to do some things they weren’t used to. They responded and just did an outstanding job.”
Pugh was 2-for-3 with one single, one double and five RBIs. Greene was 3-for-4 with two singles, one double, one run and two RBIs. Riley was 2-for-4 with one single, one double, two runs and one RBI. Caraway was 2-for-4 with two singles and three runs. Terry was 2-for-3 with two singles. Pollock was 2-for-3 with two singles and two RBIs. Kenna Edmondson was 0-for-4 with one run, and Abbie Young was 0-for-4 with one run.
Clarke County’s Law was 2-for-3 with two singles and one RBI.