The Worth County softball team’s season came to an abrupt end last Wednesday in Albany as the Lady Rams were eliminated from the region tournament after their third game. After posting an incredible 20-3 record in the regular season and showcasing some of the best players in the state, the Worth girls played a series of three consecutive tough games before the 2014 season came to a close.
The Region 1-AAAA tournament began at the Gordon sports complex on Tuesday at 5:30 with third ranked Worth County taking on the Syrupmaids from Cairo. While most GHSA softball games last seven innings at most, this back and forth affair between the region rivals stretched ten innings before the Lady Rams could claim the win. Cairo and Worth traded one or two runs per inning until the seventh and eighth innings when neither team scored. Then, both teams put up a pair of runs in the ninth inning before Cairo scored their last run in the top of the tenth. The Lady Rams replied with a pair of wins in the bottom of the inning to end the game with a hard fought, single run advantage, 9-8.
In the second game of the evening, the Worth Lady Rams faced the Lady Bearcats from Bainbridge at 7:30. Bainbridge brought their best pitching game and the Rams quickly found themselves locked into another defensive battle with their new region opponents. The Bearcat ace only threw 77 pitches for the entire seven inning game, and 66 of those balls were strikes. After six straight shut-out innings for both teams, Bainbridge managed to score a single run in the top of the seventh. When Worth failed to respond in the bottom of the last inning, the Lady Rams were dealt their first loss in the double elimination tournament, 1-0.
On Wednesday, the girls returned to the Albany fields for another tough matchup against the Cook Lady Hornets. In their first meeting this year, Worth beat Cook, 5-3, but the rematch would be a different tale. The Lady Rams seemed to be making mental mistakes on the field Wednesday and not capitalizing on key opportunities. The Lady Hornets scored two runs in each of the first two innings to establish a 4-0 lead before the Rams settled down defensively.
Cook scored their fifth run on a wild pitch in the top of the fourth inning, but the Lady Rams were still struggling to bring base runners home. Finally, in the bottom of the fifth inning, Worth County loaded of the bases with one out and scored Alexis Kelly when Caroline Newton walked. Still, the Ladies would strand three base runners as the inning ended, 5-1.
Worth County battled back to score three more runs before the game ended, but they ultimately fell short for their second loss of the tournament, 5-4. And, with the loss to the Cook Lady Hornets, the Lady Rams were eliminated from the region tournament and their season came to an abrupt end with no chance to participate in the playoffs. Thomas County Central would eventually knock off the Crisp Lady Cougars to win the 2014 Region 1-AAAA title in TCC’s first year of AAAA competition.
While the unexpected end to an otherwise remarkable season is surely heartbreaking for the Lady Rams and their fans alike, there are many positive takeaways to consider when looking back at the 2014 season. The girls have proven that Worth County holds some of the best softball talent in the state with eight players ranked among the top 25. And, Worth is a young team with eight freshmen and four sophomores on the roster.
The Lady Rams finished the season with a respectable, 21-5, record, and they beat Cook, Cairo, and Crisp in the course of regular season play. These girls are going to mature and get stronger as the years progress, and Worth County can look forward to success on the diamond for years to come.