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Softball Drops to ELCA 4-1 in GHSA Final Four, Face Stratford Saturday in Elimination Game

COLUMBUS, Ga. – The FPD varsity softball team faced adversity for the first time in the GHSA Class-A Final Four on Thursday night, falling to the two-time defending Class-A State Champion ELCA Lady Chargers 4-1 on Field 5 at the South Commons Softball Complex.

The loss puts FPD (24-7/2-1 Elite 8) into the loser’s bracket for the first time in the tournament and sets up an elimination game on Saturday morning against long-time rival Stratford Academy (22-7/2-1 Elite 8) on Field 1 at 10 a.m.

“They (ELCA) played really well,” FPD head coach Jim Turner said. “They have a great pitcher that held us to one run. Hats off to them, they played really well.”

After three scoreless innings, the Lady Chargers scored first in the top of the fourth and never relinquished the lead the rest of the game.

In the fourth frame, Caris Wright singled home Lindsey Darden for 1-0 advantage.

An inning later Abigail Rogers hit a solo home run over the center field fence to give ELCA a 2-0 lead.

“We just weren’t as focused as were on Thursday,” senior Peyton Worsham said. “We just have to stay positive and realize that we’re still in the tournament.”

The Lady Chargers made it a 3-0 contest in the sixth inning when Wright singled home Alexei Young.

“They just kept adding one run at a time and we were slowly falling behind,” Turner said. “That’s what makes them such a good team. You can’t give them second or third chances or they will come back to get you.”

FPD nearly tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when Peyton Worsham smashed a high fly ball to straight away center with two runners on.

The ball would have cleared the fence but ELCA center fielder Young made a lunging grab in play then fell over the fence to rob Worsham and the Lady Vikings of a game-tying home run.

Instead, FPD settled for a sacrifice-fly that plated Katie Culver.

“That was a great piece of hitting by Peyton,” Turner said. “But you have have to tip your cap again to ELCA. They played well in the field too. That was a really good play.”

The Lady Chargers added another insurance run in the top portion of the seventh when Young singled home Brooke Echols for a 4-1 lead.

FPD went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.

“It’s tough because now our girls have to face some adversity and that happens to every team in the postseason,” Turner said. “But we’re still alive and have a chance. We just have to try and dig ourselves out of a hole.”

Worsham agrees.

“We can’t let our emotions get the best of us in the game against Stratford,” Worsham said. “We’ve played them twice before and both teams know each other very well.”

Added Turner: “It will be a great game between two great teams. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives.”

Check www.fpdvikings.com and @FPDVikingSports on Twitter for updates on the softball team in Columbus on Saturday morning against Stratford.

FPD leads the season series against the Eaglettes, claiming a 7-6 win on Aug. 22 at the FPD Softball Complex followed by a 3-2 victory at Stratford on Sept. 17.

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:

Sr. Peyton Worsham

Head Coach Jim Turner

BOX SCORE:

ELCA 4, FPD 1

ELCA 000-111-1 — 4-12-1
FPD 000-001-0 — 1-4-2

WP: Chanel Newcomer. LP: Carli Sutton.

2B: ELCA – Abigail Rogers, Brooke Echols; FPD – Katie Culver.
HR: ELCA – Rogers.

Game notes: ELCA advances to the Championship game while FPD falls into the loser’s bracket…Worsham had one RBI for FPD…Caris Wright was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI for ELCA…Rogers and Alexei Young each had one RBI for ELCA…Newcomer had six strikeouts…ELCA left 10 runners on base.

Records: FPD 24-7, ELCA 23-9.

Next: FPD v. Stratford (GHSA Final 4 Elimination Game – Field 1), 10 a.m., Saturday (Columbus, Ga.).