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COLUMBUS BOUND! Softball Sweeps Excel Christian 10-1, 5-1 to Advance to GHSA Elite Eight

MACON, Ga. – Since the dog days of summer, when the humidity was unbearable and the heat index climbed over 100 degrees, the FPD varsity softball team still had one destination in mind while practicing and playing: Columbus, Ga.

On Thursday night, that destination drew closer as the no. 5 seeded Lady Vikings (22-6) swept the no. 12 seeded Excel Christian Lady Eagles (16-12) 10-1 and 5-1 in two games at the FPD Softball Complex to advance to the GHSA Class-A Private Elite Eight for a third consecutive season.

It’s there the Lady Vikings will compete for the program’s first GHSA fast-pitch softball state title Oct. 29-31.

“It just feels amazing,” FPD senior Peyton Worsham said. “To go back to Columbus and have a chance at bringing home a state championship is a dream come true.”

Classmate Jill Rogers echoed those same sentiments.

“It’s an awesome feeling to go to Columbus with all my teammates,” Rogers said. “It was also a good way to end our season at home.”

FPD head coach Jim Turner knew the task would be tough against Excel Christian, but gave credit to all his players for the series victory.

“It’s been a great year so far and all of our girls have made some sort of impact on this team,” Turner said. “I think the girls want to go further than they did last year and they proved that coming from behind in Game Two.”

The Lady Vikings indeed showed they want more on Thursday night.

FPD clinched the series with a 5-1 victory in Game Two in a dramatic come-from-behind win.

Playing as the visiting team and down 1-0 in the sixth inning with two outs, Worsham slapped a single to left field to score Sydnee Sconyers to tie Game Two at 1-1.

After an Allie Parkerson walk, Rogers stepped up and delivered what turned out to be the game-winning single to right field to plate Worsham and Parkerson for a 3-1 lead.

“I went up there with two outs and was a little nervous,” Rogers said. “I was just trying to tell myself that I was capable of getting us a big hit, stay calm and not think too much.”

FPD would add on two more runs in the seventh inning, one on a Katie Culver double and the other on an Lady Eagle wild pitch.

Culver, who says she’s been in a slump of late, was glad to chip in with an insurance run late in Game Two.

“It was a huge hit,” Culver said. “That hit was really good for my mental game and it feels great being able to go to Columbus with my teammates that I love so much.”

Worsham picked up the complete game win with 10 strikeouts and totaled 12 innings pitched and 15 strikeouts in both games combined.

Game One saw FPD’s bats come alive in a 10-1 five-inning win to set the tone for Game Two.

FPD sent home four runs in the first inning to give Worsham plenty of run support. Parkerson singled home Carli Sutton before Karsen Ochs smashed a double off the right field wall for two more runs.

“We were really focused on winning Game One,” Ochs said. “We wanted to come out with all we had and play the best we could. I think we did that.”

The biggest blow of the game for the Lady Eagles, though, came via the bat of Worsham.

The pitcher helped out her own cause with a three-run blast down the left field line to give the Lady Vikings a Game One run-ruling victory.

Even with a first round victory, though, the Lady Vikings say they aren’t satisfied. The past two years FPD has finished third in the GHSA Class-A State Tournament and this year they want more.

“It’s going to be really competitive,” Turner said. “It always is. Making the Elite Eight is always one of our goals and I think our girls want to settle some unfinished business from the past couple of years. We keep saying that we think this is our time. I hope our girls keep a positive mental approach as we head into next week.”

Culver says a week of preparation will help get the team focused for another crack at a state title run.

“We have to stay focused,” Culver said. “We need to keep learning and getting better on what we need to do to get key wins (in Columbus).”

Rogers agrees.

“The pressure (in Columbus) is intense,” Rogers said. “We know we’re going to face really good competition. Let’s hope the third time is a charm for us.”

The GHSA Class-A Elite Eight is set for Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 29-31 at the South Commons Softball Complex.

Brackets will be finalized in the coming days.

Check www.fpvikings.com and @FPDVikingSports on Twitter for opponents, times and more information on the Lady Vikings in the Elite Eight.

The First Presbyterian Day School Department of Athletics strives to build the student athlete both in the playing arena and the classroom while upholding the school’s mission statement to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory. For more information, visit www.fpdvikings.com and sign up for up-to-the-minute news and scores by following the Vikings on Twitter at @FPDVikingSports and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FPDathletics.

POST-GAME VIDEOS:

GAME ONE (W 10-1 in 5 innings):
Peyton Worsham

Karsen Ochs

Head Coach Jim Turner

GAME TWO (W 5-1):
The FINAL OUT and Team Celebration

Jill Rogers

Peyton Worsham

Katie Culver

Head Coach Jim Turner

MEDIA COVERAGE:
Coming soon…

BRACKET:
GHSA Class-A Private Softball Bracket (Round One)

BOX SCORES:

GAME ONE:
FPD 10, EXCEL CHRISTIAN 1

ECA 001-00 — 1-4-2
FPD 420-4x — 10-12-0

WP: Peyton Worsham. LP: Taylor Gibson.

2B: FPD – Karsen Ochs.
HR: FPD – Worsham.

Game notes: Worsham threw a complete-game, striking out five and walking one and hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to finish the game at 2-for-3 with 3 RBI…Ochs was 1-for-3 with two RBI for FPD…Jill Rogers was 3-for-3 with two runs scored for FPD.

GAME TWO:
FPD 5, EXCEL CHRISTIAN 1

FPD 000-003-2 — 5-7-0
ECA 000-010-0 — 1-4-0

WP: Peyton Worsham. LP: Taylor Gibson.

2B: FPD – Carli Sutton, Caylee Ann Sutton, Katie Culver.

Game notes: FPD wins the series 2-0 and advances to the GHSA Class-A Elite Eight for a third consecutive season…Jill Rogers was 1-for-3 with the game-winning hit in the top of the sixth…Katie Culver was 1-for-2 with one RBI for FPD…Worsham tied the game in the top of the sixth, scoring Sydnee Sconyers…Worsham finished with 10 strikeouts.

Record: FPD 22-6.

Next: FPD at GHSA Elite Eight in Columbus, Ga., Oct. 29-31, Opponents/Times TBD.