COVINGTON, Ga. — In the two teams’ second meeting, the Peachtree Academy Panthers bested the Covington Academy Bulldogs Thursday night by a score of 13-4 to lock down the region championship in a game that ended in six innings.
The Panthers impressively took down the Bulldogs for a second time behind strong pitching and an outstanding hitting performance from their backstop.
Catcher Marina Forrester had a banner day at the plate for Peachtree, finishing off her night with two hits in four at-bats and six RBIs. Forrester’s hits alone would have given the Panthers enough runs to earn the win and the timing and placement of her hits were most impressive.
Forrester’s first hit came with the bases loaded and two outs. She lined the first pitch she saw to opposite field down the first base line and it rolled all the way to the wall. This hit cleared the loaded bases and left Forrester standing on third.
In her next at-bat with runners on second and third, Forrester struck again lining a ball down the left field line that quickly made its way to the wall too. The timeliness of Forrester’s two big hits were absolutely crucial and Panthers head coach Chris Smith knows how much they needed those runs.
“That was excellent because she struggled early on as well, and I think she’s coming on as well,” said Smith. “I think it was absolutely huge and I think it was humongous for us.”
On the other side of the ball, Peachtree Academy pitcher Anna Smith had a few bumps here and there but she was overall dominant. Smith pitched a complete game allowing four runs, with three earned, on six hits and a walk.
The most impressive stat from Smith’s performance was her strikeout total. She finished with 12 strikeouts on the night, which means 12 of the 18 outs in the game were by way of a strikeout for the Panthers. Chris Smith, who is not only the Panthers’ head coach but also Anna’s father, was beaming with pride in her performance.
“She’s great and she’s really settled down from her first start and really coming into her own,” said Smith. “I’m just really proud.”
The Panthers head coach was not alone in being impressed with the performance as opposing coach Scott Walker also had to pay respect to Peachtree’s hurler.
“She throws strikes and that’s what you have to do,” Walker said. “If you don’t walk people you give your team a chance to make a play, but they can’t defend a walk.”
Although this was a standout performance for these two Panthers, the team always brings a link of chains to the game to show that every performance is attributed to the whole. Each link on the chain has a different member of the Jaguars name on it.
“This shows that the team is only as strong as its weakest link, and that it’s all about (the fact that this) is not an individual sport but a team sport,” Chris Smith said.