Softball Championships: North Gwinnett spoils Mill Creek’s title defense; Buford three-peats


North Gwinnett 6, Mill Creek 2

Sloppy fielding and a sharp Chandler Dennis kept Mill Creek off balance and unable to repeat as state champions as the Bulldogs captured their first fast pitch softball championship in school history. North Gwinnett hung single runs in the second, third and fourth inning before Mill Creek could answer. Bailey Martin was doubled home by Lauren Reed with two outs to get the Bulldogs on the board first. Erin Wilbur hit a chopper that eluded Mill Creek’s Wynter Webb to make it 2-0. In the fourth inning Reed picked up her second RBI to go up 3-0. Hannah Adams plated Mill Creek’s first run on an error. In the fifth the Hawks clawed away at the lead with a Meghan Cassidy two-out RBI single driving in Maddison Koepke who finished 3-for-4. Dennis and Skylar Hayward traded zeros until the top of the seventh. The Bulldogs used small ball to manufacture runs, Emily Brown singling to left and Makenna Dowell reaching on a bunt. Hayward rebounded, getting an out on a Dennis sacrifice and inducing a Wilbur foul pop out, but poor fielding struck again. Haley Short popped up in the infield but a miscommunication allowed the ball to drop between two infielders making it 4-2. Haley Griffith followed with a two-run single to push the lead to 6-2. Dennis finished off the Hawks, working around a two-out error and getting Koepke to roll over for the final out. Dennis went all seven innings allowing five hits and striking out two.



Cambridge 4, Creekview 0

In fitting fashion, Cambridge used its 20th shutout of the year to capture its first ever state championship, 4-0 over Creekview. Keara Napoli tossed a complete-game four-hitter to shut down the Grizzlies bats. Lindsey Smith supplied the offense going 2-for-3 with two runs batted in. Napoli and Becca Cleypool both chipped in RBIs. In the loss Brianna Stubbs collected two hits.



Buford 2, Walnut Grove 1

For the fifth time in six meetings this season, Buford thwarted Region 8 rival Walnut Grove. Buford’s 2-1 walk-off win marks the third straight year the Wolves have ended the Warriors’ season and second straight year they’ve done so in the state championship. Buford took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning when Maddie Marchiando crossed the plate. Kaedy Borst answered the following inning with a solo shot to knot the game at 1. In the bottom of the seventh, a lead off error opened the floodgates. Gabby Benson reached base and was promptly bunted over by Shea Bayreuther setting up an opportunity for Katie Perkins to break the Warriors’ heart one more time, which she did, singling in the winning run. Tennessee-commit Logan Caymol limited the Warriors to three hits while striking out eight to power the Wolves to their 10th straight state title. Kayla Poytner toed the rubber for Walnut Grove and allowed five hits and one earned run while punching out five in the loss.


Class AAAA 

Central-Carrollton 3, Northside-Columbus 1

After striking out 21 in a 7-0 victory over Northside-Columbus at 9 A.M., UCF-commit Emily Williams dazzled again, striking out 16 and allowing only a first inning homerun to Hannah George to carry the Lions to their first ever state title.  Williams was masterful during her 107-pitch complete game, giving up just one hit and no walks. Central-Carrollton scored three runs in the sixth inning when the Lions loaded the bases and Abbey Cook was hit by a pitch. Maddie Dodson followed with a two-run single to provide the Lions all the cushion they needed with Williams on the mound.


Class AAA

East Jackson 5, Calhoun 2

The state’s No. 1 ranked team Calhoun could not complete a four-peat, falling to East Jackson 5-2. The Eagles claimed their first state title after a perfect 4-0 march through the Championship Bracket. Calhoun was sent to the Loser’s Bracket after a loss to Cook County on Thursday night and won four straight before running into East Jackson. Calhoun held a 1-0 lead after one but the Eagles tied it in the third on a Jessie Marvin RBI. In the fourth inning East Jackson extended its lead with a Gracie Wilburn RBI single followed by two unearned runs off an error. Ashlyn Barnes knocked in an RBI single to cut it to 4-2 in the fifth, but Marvin added another insurance run in the top of the seventh.


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