Center fielder Dyamond Brown came up with the big play in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve a 9-8 Class 5A fast-pitch playoff series clinching win for the Arabia Mountain Rams against the Kell Longhorns at Arabia Mountain on Wednesday.
Leading the best-of-three series 1-0 after a 6-0 first game victory, the Rams were trying to stave off a Kell rally in the seventh that had brought the Longhorns from a 9-4 deficit to within 9-8.
With two out and the tying and winning runs on base, Brown made a diving catch of liner into center to clinch Arabia Mountain’s first ever playoff series victory and the first for DeKalb County since the best-of-three series replaced the state sectionals in 2009.
The Rams had trailed in the second game by a score of 4-2 after three inning, but rallied to go up 5-4 in the top of the fourth. Kayla Phillips relieved Jalyn Barker on the mound in the fourth and held Kell scoreless until the bottom of the seventh while Arabia Mountain added four more runs to take the 9-4 lead.
Senior pitcher Kayla Phillips threw a shutout in the opening game as the Rams won 6-0 to open the series with the 1-0 advantage.
Arabia Mountain struck for three runs in the bottom of the first as Phillips singled to score Tajah Clark who had opened with a single and moved to second on an error. Miah Lewis made it 3-0 with her two run single.
The Rams struck for two more in the bottom of the second inning for a 5-0 lead. Clark singled to again start the inning and Dyamond Brown singled to put two on with one out.
Aleeya Thompson grounded out to the right side to score Clark and move Brown to third for a 4-0 advantage. Brown would score on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
Miah Lewis singled with one out in the bottom of the fifth and stole second. A ground out to the right side ended up with an out, but Lewis moving to third came home on a throwing error to make the final margin of 6-0.
Kell got two runners on with one out in the sixth, but Phillips coaxed Kell into a pop-up to first and a grounder to the mound to escape without any damage.
Arabia Mountain advances to host Starr’s Mill (21-10) on Wednesday, October 19 in a 2:00 pm doubleheader to kick off the Class 5A second round best-of-three series. Starr’s Mill, the Region 3 No. 2 seed advanced with 12-11 and 12-2 wins over Veterans.
In other Class 5A state playoff action, three DeKalb schools exited the playoffs including Miller Grove (15-4) dropped games of 5-3 and 11-3 to Woodland-Cartersville (14-19), Chamblee (16-11) fell 10-2 and 17-4 to Villa Rica (21-7) and Southwest DeKalb (8-12-1) dropped its road games 15-0 and 2-0 to Carrollton (20-7).
Lakeside (10-16) lost in two straight to Lambert (22-3) by scores of 14-0 and 13-0 to fall out of the Class 7A state playoffs.
Stephenson (16-9) got knocked out of the Class 6A state playoffs with a 2-0 series loss at home to Effingham County (18-9) by scores of 13-0 and 15-0.
Cedar Grove (15-13) dropped its Class 3A road series 2-0 to North Hall (13-8) by scores of 8-2 and 14-1 to end the Saints’ season.
DCSD STATE SOFTBALL RESULTS
Wednesday, October 12 (Best of Three Series)
Lambert (22-3) 14, Lakeside (10-16) 0
Lambert (22-3) 13, Lakeside (10-16) 0
Lambert wins series 2-0
Effingham County (18-9) 13, Stephenson (16-9) 0
Effingham County (18-9) 15, Stephenson (16-9) 0
Effingham Co. wins series 2-0
Arabia Mountain (21-7) 6, Kell (13-6) 0
Arabia Mountain (21-7) 9, Kell (13-6) 8
Arabia Mountain wins series 2-0
Woodland-Cartersville (14-19) 5, at Miller Grove (15-4) 3
Woodland-Cartersville (14-19) 11, at Miller Grove (15-4) 3
Woodland-Cartersville wins series 2-0
Villa Rica (21-7) 10, Chamblee (16-11) 2
Villa Rica (21-7) 17, Chamblee (16-11) 4
Villa Rica wins series 2-0
Carrollton (20-7) 15, SW DeKalb (8-12-1) 0
Carrollton (20-7) 2, SW DeKalb (8-12-1) 0
Carrollton wins series 2-0
North Hall (13-8) 8, Cedar Grove (15-13) 2
North Hall (13-8) 14, Cedar Grove (15-13) 1
North Hall wins series 2-0
DCSD STATE SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS
Wednesday, Oct. 19
Starr’s Mill (21-10) at Arabia Mountain (21-7), 2:00 pm, Doubleheader
Thursday, Oct. 20
Game 3, if Necessary
Starr’s Mill (21-10) at Arabia Mountain (21-7), TBA