The Iris City softball showdown turned into a meltdown for the Griffin Lady Bears as they lost to the Spalding Lady Jags 7-0 in non-region action Wednesday evening at Griffin High.
Spalding (15-3-1) has now won the last five games against its crosstown rival Griffin (14-5).
“This was an embarrassing loss. I’m very disappointed,” said Lady Bears coach Roger Alford. “It seemed like our girls’ minds were somewhere else tonight.”
Spalding’s collective mind was focused on defeating their city rivals, scoring seven runs in the first two innings and belting 13 hits overall against Griffin starting pitcher Allison Waters.
Lady Jags’ pitcher Emily Vaughn gave up only one hit to the Lady Bears. Ironically, it was Waters who got Griffin’s only hit — in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The first four batters did the damage for Spalding in the first inning. Heather Kilar singled and Sarah Hemphill doubled her home. Ansley Jinks then doubled Hemphill home and Cember Carmichael’s RBI groundout put the Lady Jags up 3-0 before the crowd settled in.
In the top of the second, Mallory O’Kelley and Kilar scored after Hemphill’s single to center rolled to the fence for a 5-0 lead. Hemphill then scored on a fielder’s choice and Vaughn singled home Carmichael for the 7-0 margin.
“It’s amazing to beat them five years straight and this year, we shut them out,” said Carmichael, a senior. “Griffin can’t say too much now. We’re really coming together as a team.”
Griffin seemed to settle down after the second inning. Angel and Markeda Crawford played good defense for Griffin and Lady Bears left fielder Sarah Hill made the play of the game in the top of the third inning.
Kilar, who went 4-for-4, lined a base hit to left field and O’Kelley tried to score from second base. Hill made a one-hop throw to catcher Jessie Goodman, who tagged the quick O’Kelley at the plate, flipped over her and held onto the ball for the final out.
“I thought we swung the bats well early, but went flat after the first two innings mostly because their pitcher settled down,” said Spalding head coach Rusty Hudson. "Now we've got to get ready to finish strong in the region."
Spalding, ranked No. 5 in Class AAA, is in a three-way tie for first place in Region 4-AAA with Woodward Academy and Rutland.
Spalding hosts South Atlanta today at 5 p.m., then plays five games in five days next week including makeup games against Jackson (home, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.) and Woodward Academy (road, Oct. 2, 4 p.m.). Griffin plays at Stockbridge Oct. 1 at 5 p.m.