COLUMBUS, Ga. — After steamrolling their way to the Georgia Association of Public and Parochial Schools (GAPPS) state softball championship series, the Peachtree Academy Lady Panthers ran into Calvary Christian Academy on the big stage.
On Saturday, April 29, the Lady Panthers’ championship hopes were swept away, losing games one and two 6-5 and 12-8, respectively.
A game one victory slipped through Peachtree Academy’s hands in walk-off fashion.
Trailing 4-2, Josie Smith connected on a 3-RBI triple that scored Noelle Boeckman, Ansley Hartman and Cara Steele. As a result, the Lady Panthers took their first lead of the game.
However, the score was tied 5-5 heading into extra innings. Then, in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, Peachtree Academy surrendered a single that scored the game-winning run.
Smith went 1-for-2 with four RBIs followed by Ansley Hartman who went 3-for-4 with one RBI. Lexi Moore had a solid pitching performance going 7.2 innings, allowing two earned runs and had four strikeouts.
Each team’s offensive prowess was on full display early and often in game two.
At the end of two innings, Calvary Christian led 10-5 boasted by a seven-run second inning. Peachtree Academy’s two-run fourth inning drew the Lady Panthers to within three, but they only mustered one run in the final three innings.
Three errors by the Lady Panthers proved costly in the season-ending defeat, too.
Savannah Norris had four RBIs in game two while batting 2-for-3. Steele recorded a 1-for-2 outing with two RBIs. Chupp went 1-for-3 with an RBI followed by Kami Ortiz who batted 1-for-2 with one run batted in.
Despite losing in the championship round, Peachtree Academy’s path to the state title series was smooth.
In round one, the Lady Panthers swept Skipstone Academy 12-0 and 13-0 in their opening two-game state tournament series. They then enjoyed back-to-back wins over The King’s Academy, beating the Knights 7-4 in game one and 17-2 in game two.
Smith led the way with seven RBIs, Steele had five followed by Boeckman and Ansley Hartman with four RBIs apiece. Moore, Alyssa Hartman and Ortiz each recorded three RBIs with Chupp batting two runs in to score.
Moore also took charge in the pitcher’s circle. She pitched 11 total innings, surrendered one earned run and had 13 strikeouts. Boeckman threw 8.1 innings and allowed two earned runs along with 10 strikeouts.
On top of that, Peachtree Academy’s 2023 season was nearly flawless. In fact, Saturday’s back-to-back losses are the only blemishes on the Lady Panthers’ resume.
They finished the year at 14-2 overall, won the GAAPS Region 2 Division I championship and earned state runners up honors.
Add in the fact that only one senior — Chupp — will graduate from the program later this month, and it seems the Lady Panthers’ future is promising heading toward 2024.