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Trio of 8-AA teams heading to state

ROME - Greater Atlanta Christian won three straight, Wesleyan won four straight and Buford won a decisive game over North Oconee as all three local Region 8-AA teams qualified for the state tournament in Columbus.

GAC rolled into Columbus with a 3-0 win over North Oconee on Saturday.

The Spartans, who beat Oglethorpe and Rockmart on Friday, got 14 strikeouts from pitcher Jessica Coan against North Oconee, and the sophomore star allowed just two hits.

Janey Elrod, Mollie Mitchell and Rebekah Osteen all had two hits for the Spartans, who are now 23-10-3 on the year. Elrod, Mitchell and Kinsey Davis had RBIs.

GAC's region mate Wesleyan also cruised into Columbus, with wins over Holy Innocents', Model, Dade County and Lovett.

Pitcher Missy Genthert pitched three shutouts for the Wolves, including two 1-0 wins over Dade and Lovett. Paige Hamlin got the win against Model.

Offensively, Kristy Arnold and Amy Spingola each had five hits in the tournament for Wesleyan, which is now 22-11-1 on the year.

For region champion Buford the going was a little tougher, but the Wolves still punched their ticket to Columbus.

After beating Monticello in the first round on Friday, the Wolves fell to Lovett 2-0 in the nightcap and had to play their way through the loser's bracket.

Buford came back to beat Oglethorpe 1-0 and Lafayette 2-1 in eight innings before the state-clinching win over North Oconee.

Jesse Groves, who came on in relief in the sixth against Lafayette, picked up all three wins for the Wolves. She pitched 17 innings and struck out 24.

She got help offensively against North Oconee from Shannon Wilson and Amanda Brooks, who each had two hits in the game. Brooks also added a home run against Lafayette and Melissa Higginbotham delivered the game-winning single in the eighth inning for the Wolves, who are now 28-8 on the season.

Mt. Zion 5, Hebron 3

HAMPTON - Hebron saw its season come to an end Saturday with a 5-3 loss to Mt. Zion in the Class A North Sectional at Lovejoy Regional Park.

Rachael Duval pitched all seven innings for Hebron and struck out five. Britt Pecht and Nichole Smith both had home runs for the Lions, who finished their season with a 17-8 record.

- From staff reports