Falcons Close Out Panthers in Two; Headed to State Finals
Western Regional Champions
The Lady Falcons would not be denied in their quest to reach the 2A State Finals. Coming from behind in game 1 the Falcons scored two runs in the bottom of the 6th inning to give Sydney Miller all she would need to close out the Panthers 3-2. Marissa Lineberry was 3 for 3 in the game to lead the Falcon offense.
With a 1-0 advantage, the Falcons traveled to Macon County for the second game in a best of three series. Franklin had to feel pretty good about its chances after the close game in East Bend, but the Falcons made an early statement in the first inning.
Allison Mitchell nearly homered in the first at-bat of the game, but settled for a double as the ball came out the left-field fence. Wooten and Wood walked to load the bases for Miller. Sydney grounded a ball by the first baseman to drive in two runs and give the Falcons an early lead.
That lead stood until the bottom of the 2nd when a miscue by the Falcons got the Panthers on the scoreboard. With runners on 1st and 2nd, a bunted ball back to the pitcher gave the Falcons the opportunity to cut the runner down at third, however the throw got away and the runner trotted home. Miller dug down and got three straight outs to keep the error from causing any more damage.
It took the Falcons two times through the batting order to get the offense rolling. In the top of the fifth, Choplin and Wooten hit back-to-back singles to put runners on for the meat of the order. After a groundout by Wood, Miller singled to plate Wooten and increase the lead back to 2 runs. Then, with two outs, Lineberry came up clutch once again as she doubled to left field, scoring Wood and Bullin (courtesy runner). After five innings it was 5-1 in favor of the Falcons as Miller had settled in on the mound. Miller ended up only allowing four hits in the game and one unearned run over seven innings.
The Falcons chased Bryson from the mound in the sixth as the team put the game on ice with four additional runs. Hits by Wood and Lineberry surrounded a few errors by the Panther defense to put the game out of reach at 9-1. Bryson was able to keep the Falcons under wraps in the first game, but could not hold back the Falcons any longer.
Logan Wood tacked on four more runs in the seventh as she sent a towering shot over the fence and bleachers for a grand slam. One more run came across as the Falcons sealed the deal by a final score of 14-1.
With the win, the Falcons are headed to the State Championship series next weekend against South Granville out of the East.
Franklin is to be commended for a great season and a hard-fought regional series. A talented team that joined the Falcons for a prayer after the game was over. It takes a lot of class to meet the opposition on the mound for a prayer after your team has been knocked out of the playoffs.
4 for 7
5 for 8
3 for 7
3 for 8
2 for 6
3 for 8
The Falcons stopped off at Western Carolina to take batting practice and eat dinner. The players took in the sights of a collegiate field similar to the one they will play on in the State Championship. The Catamounts have a fine facility, and it really got the girls in the right frame of mind for the second game of the regional series.
It was a mixture of fun and focus as the team ate under the picnic shelter after hitting in the cage and on the field. A quick tour of the locker room added a little inspiration for the upcoming game.
The two video clips capture the emotion of the series. In Game 1, the focus of a team with one goal in mind. In Game 2, the exhilaration of winning the regional series to reach the State Championship.