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Softball Starts GHSA Elite Eight with 7-1 Victory Over Tattnall Square

COLUMBUS, Ga. – After two regular season region losses to the Tattnall Square Lady Trojans, the FPD Lady Vikings knew the task would be difficult to get a win against a familiar foe, especially in the first game of the GHSA Class-A Private Elite Eight Tournament.

But FPD (23-6, 1-0 Elite 8) rose to the occasion and secured a spot in the winner’s bracket until late Thursday, defeating the Lady Trojans (26-7, 0-1 Elite 8) 7-1 at Janice Davis Field at the South Commons Softball Complex.

FPD will look to stay in the winner’s bracket later on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. on Field 1, taking on the Brookstone Lady Cougars (21-4, 1-0 Elite 8), who knocked off Calvary Day 2-1 in the morning round.

“This was a much needed win,” head coach Jim Turner said. “But now we have to realize that it’s over and get ready to play again later this evening against a very, very good Brookstone team.”

“It was a huge win,” senior shortstop Jill Rogers added. “The first game always sets the tone for how we think the rest of the tournament will go.

After two scoreless innings where starting pitcher Carli Sutton and the Lady Viking defense evaded multiple jams, FPD’s bats came alive in the top of the third inning.

Katie Culver led off the inning with a double to the right-center field fence followed by an Emily Rutledge sacrifice bunt to move Culver into scoring position.

“That hit felt great,” Culver said. “We knew we lost to them twice in the regular season, so to come back and get a win against them here is good.”

Then starting pitcher Carli Sutton took matters into her own hands. On the first pitch from Tattnall’s Caroline Gilbert, Carli Sutton drilled a triple off the center field wall to score Culver and give FPD a 1-0 lead.

“It feels great to get this win,” Carli Sutton said. “We’ve just been really focused on playing for God and for each other and that’s kept us through.”

One batter later, the Lady Vikings added another run on a Peyton Worsham sacrifice fly to left to score Sutton and make it a 2-0 contest.

FPD’s final run of the third inning came a few batters later when Karsen Ochs singled home Sadie Frame who was courtesy running for Allie Parkerson. FPD led 3-0.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Lady Trojans posted their only run of the game in the bottom half of the fifth inning when Grace Ann Morris singled home Allie Gordon to make it a 3-1 game.

But in the blink of an eye, the Lady Vikings sealed the win in the top half of the sixth, scoring four runs.

After singles by Jill Rogers and Ochs, Caylee Ann Sutton laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Rogers to third and Ochs to third.

Amanda Evans hit a fielders choice that scored Rogers and moved Ochs to third to give FPD a 4-1 lead.

One batter later, Culver grounded out and Ochs crossed home for a 5-1 FPD advantage as Evans moved to second.

“It was great to see us hit as a team like we did today (against Tattnall),” Ochs said. “We’ve really been focusing on that in practice this week.”

Turner said, though, he’s proud of the girls for their efforts.

“Carli’s ability to get people out in tough situations was great, our defense played well and we were able to score runs from top to bottom throughout our lineup.”

Added Rogers, who was 3-for-4 on the day: “I was just happy to help the team hit and lead us to a win. It was a team effort, not one single person.”

Back to the top of the order, Emily Rutldge and Carli Sutton both hit RBI singles and FPD led comfortably at 7-1 and the rest was history.

Sutton and the FPD defense did the rest, holding the lady Trojans scoreless in the sixth and seventh to secure an all-important game one victory and avoid moving into the loser’s bracket.

Sutton (8-1) allowed just four hits and struck out four batters en route to the victory while FPD totaled 11 hits.

“I just really tried to stay focused pitching,” Carli Sutton said. “I wanted to go after each batter like I knew I could and the defense just played really, really well. There were some amazing plays and definitely some of the best we’ve seen all year.”

One of those defensive gems came via the glove of Ochs in left field.

In the bottom of the fifth, Tattnall’s Ashley Walker hit a deep fly ball that appeared to be heading over the fence.

But Ochs broke towards the fence just in time, heaved and the ball fell in her glove to rob the homer.

“It was a great catch,” Ochs said, “I had a lot of energy afterwards and during especially. I realized the ball was going a little further than I thought. I ended up in the fence and caught it. It felt great.”

First pitch Thursday night against Brookstone is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“We just have to stay focused,” Turner said. “The next game is now the game.”

Check for updates on the FPD softball team in the Elite Eight in Columbus on Twitter by following @FPDVikingSports. Live play-by-play v. Brookstone on Thursday evening will be available.

Also visit the FPD SOFTBALL ELITE EIGHT CENTRAL HOMEPAGE for updated information.

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.

VIDEOS:

Carli Sutton and Karsen Ochs

Jill Rogers and Katie Culver

Head Coach Jim Turner

BOX SCORE:

FPD 7, TATTNALL SQUARE 1

FPD 003-004-0 — 7-11-3
TSA 000-010-0 — 1-4-1

WP: Carli Sutton (8-2). LP: Caroline Gilbert.

2B: FPD – Katie Culver.
3B: FPD – Carli Sutton.

Game notes: FPD stays in the winner’s bracket and will play Brookstone on Field #1 at 6 p.m. on Thursday night…Sutton was 3-for-4 with two RBI…Emily Rutldge, Peyton Worsham, Karsen Ochs, Amanda Evans and Katie Culver each had one RBI for FPD…Jill Rogers was 3-for-4 for FPD…Seven different players scored a run for FPD…Ochs was 3-for-4…FPD left 11 runners on base…Grace Ann Morris was 2-for-3 with one RBI for Tattnall.

Records: FPD 23-6 (1-0 Elite 8); Tattnall 26-7 (0-1 Elite 8).

Next: FPD v. Brookstone (in Columbus – Field #1), 6 p.m., Thursday; Tattnall v. Calvary Day (Columbus – Field #3), 9 a.m., Friday.