Creekview storms back to finish as Class AAAAAA runner-up

Creekview storms back to finish as Class AAAAAA runner-up

Category : Creekview HS | Softball

Creekview storms back to finish as Class AAAAAA runner-up

creekview-aaaaaa-softball-runner-up

Creekview HS Lady Grizzlies Softball Team State Runner Up, AAAAAA Photo by Kevin Higgins

 

Carlton D. White
cwhite@cherokeetribune.com

COLUMBUS — Creekview began its journey through the Class AAAAAA state championships with a 3-1 loss to Cambridge.

It ended it, however, hoisting the state runner-up trophy.

After their opening-round loss to the Lady Bears, the Lady Grizzlies tore through the losers’ bracket before ending their march similar to the way they started, falling 4-0 to Cambridge in the championship round Saturday at the South Commons Softball Complex.

As Cambridge (34-1) won its first state title in team history, Creekview (31-8) claimed its highest finish in Columbus. It also marked the Lady Grizzlies’ top-four finish.

“Cambridge is a very good and balanced team all the way around,” Creekview coach Chance Cain said. “We lost to them right from the start, but battled all the way through the losers’ bracket to make the state final. That’s a testament to the kids. They dug in and stayed strong, played as a team and everybody contributed.

“We’re young. This won’t be the last time for us. We’ll be back to Columbus, and I feel blessed to have been a part of this team and this journey.”

Cambridge only totaled seven hits in the final, but the blasts came in spurts.

Lindsey Smith’s RBI double followed consecutive singles from Leslie Carroll and Abigail Wilson in the top of the second. Courtesy runner Gabby Givens scored on Smith’s double, and Wilson scored on Becca Cleypool’s fielder’s choice for a 2-0 lead.

The Lady Bears challenged again in the third, but Creekview pitcher Erin Griffin induced a double play to end the threat.

Keara Napoli led off the sixth with a home run to extend Cambridge’s lead to 3-0.

One batter later, Carroll reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on Wilson’s groundout. Smith, who was 2-for-3, collected her second RBI with a two-out single that plated courtesy Givens and put the Lady Bears ahead 4-0 in the top of the sixth.

Creekview rarely threatened offensively as Emily Wilkie was the lone player to reach second base, in the fourth. Brianna Stubbs batted 2-for-3 for the Lady Grizzlies, senior Briana Purves came off the bench to post a pinch-hit in the seventh and Josie Johnson singled in the third.

Griffin allowed four earned runs on seven hits and struck out two for Creekview. Ashton Maloney struck out a batter in a seventh-inning relief appearance.

Napoli gave up four hits and struck out four for the complete-game victory.

“This was the first time in the final four for Creekview, and it was exciting,” Cain said. “We were two games away from a state championship, so getting runner-up is pretty good. You have to tip your cap to Cambridge.

“We had three goals this season — win a region championship, keep getting better and win a state title. Two out of three ain’t bad. We came up short, but it was a great year for us — a pretty good year.”

Creekview beat Pope 8-5 and Alexander 6-2 earlier Saturday to advance to the championship final.


Creekview, River Ridge advance in pursuit of Class AAAAAA state championship

By Alex Resnak
aresnak@cherokeetribune.com

The second round of the state softball playoffs proved to be a tougher test for Cherokee County teams than the first round, as half of the four teams remaining saw their seasons end with sweeps.

But for the two teams left — Creekview and River Ridge — sweeps of their own offered hope for a potential state championship as they move onto the final eight of the Class AAAAAA tournament in Columbus.

Creekview (27-6) looked especially impressive in its sweep of Effingham County, winning 10-1 and 8-4 on Wednesday, but coach Chance Cain said there is still plenty he would like to see improved before beginning play in Columbus against Cambridge next Thursday.

“We’re not actually swinging the bats quite as well as I would like,” Cain said. “We were able to get a lot of runs, but I would like to see us be more consistent. It seems like we can get a little hot and cold at times, and I would just like to see us pick that up a little bit.”

Consistency may have been lacking Wednesday, but Creekview played well enough when it mattered.

In Game 1, the Lady Grizzlies scored eight runs in the second inning, then scored seven in the first inning of Game 2.

Faith Richards led the way offensively with a total of three hits, two runs and four RBIs, but she was not alone as seven players scored in Game 1 and eight scored in Game 2.

Creekview also showed its pitching depth, as Ashton Maloney, Anna Belle Tippens and Erin Griffin all saw action in the sweep.

“Depth is huge this time of year,” Cain said. “We have three pitchers who all looked good. We have a lot of players who we trust on offense, too. Sometimes, we have to sit some players who are hitting well, but when we need them, we have players we really like coming off the bench.”

River Ridge (21-11) had to go on the road to Brunswick, but it did not matter as the Lady Knights won 7-2 and 8-2.

The Lady Knights will be making their debut in Columbus when they face either Lee County or Alexander

“I really like the way we’re playing right now,” River Ridge coach Andrew Marinelli said. “I think we have the pitching and hitting we need. The girls are all playing for each other. We just have a good thing going right now.”

River Ridge’s deep lineup was led by Bayleigh Lott, who hit a two-run home run in Game 1 to push the lead to 7-0. That was more than enough for Savannah Flaherty, who has gone 4-0 with just one run allowed and 31 strikeouts in 20 innings during the playoffs.

The Lady Knights were the only No. 4 seed in any classification to reach Columbus, but Marinelli said they do not feel like it.

After emerging from Region 6AAAAAA, which has sent all four of its state playoff teams to Columbus, Marinelli said his team is ready for anybody.

 

“We can play with anyone,” he said. “Our region, with us, Creekview, Harrison and Dalton, are all good. We’ve been playing the top teams in the state all season. It won’t be anything new for us, no matter who we see.”

The county’s Class AAAAAAA teams were not as successful.

Cherokee played from behind in its two losses to North Gwinnett, and while Etowah opened up a 7-0 lead in Game 1 and had the tying run on third in the seventh inning of Game 2, it also was swept by Mill Creek.

Copyright © 2016 Marietta Daily Journal 10/23/2016