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Etheridge knocks Rams into finals

SNELLVILLE -- Two outs were just enough for Breanna Etheridge.

Grayson's freshmen designated hitter showed how she earned the spot with two two-out, two-RBI singles in the Rams' 8-1 win over Archer.

Etheridge left the game in the fifth inning in favor of a pinch hitter in the fifth, but returned with two outs and none on in the seventh. It was her only out of the game, ending 2-for-3 with four RBIs.

"I was just trying to find a pitch I could drive," Etheridge said. "I just know that I can come out here and do my best."

The winner's bracket victory puts the Rams in the finals of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament Thursday at Brookwood.

With its first loss Archer will play the winner of today's Brookwood-Parkview game at 7 p.m. for the right to play Grayson in the finals Thursday. The 7 p.m. is a change from the original start time of 5 p.m.

But today is an off day for the Rams who are a win away from a region title.

"This was a big win for our program," Grayson head coach Jennifer Edwards said. "I am really proud of the girls."

Grayson started scoring early when the first three runners reached base in the top of the first. An error on Kanani Cabrales' single scored the first run and then Etheridge singled in the next two.

"She's done well hitting all year," Edwards said of her freshman. "She's just a great kid."

With the lead from the start, Cabrales dominated for most of the game. She threw all seven innings, allowing one run off seven hits and striking out 11.

"She's stepped it up here at the end of the season," Edwards said of Cabrales.

Grayson added two runs in the third and three more in the fourth to take an 8-0 lead and threaten to end the game after the fifth. Cabrales knocked in a pair of runs with a two-out two-RBI triple and later scored on an error. She was 3-for-4 on the night.

But Archer fought back with two outs in the fifth. The Tigers rattled off three straight hits, capped off by an RBI single by pitcher Alliyah Williams to avoid the mercy-rule loss. The hit scored Alesha Mann and advanced Taylor Allbritton, who went 3-for-4 and was the Tigers' only bright spot offensively.

Grayson only had six hits, but did the most with them and took advantage of every out. All six Grayson RBIs and six of its eight runs came with two outs. None more important than those driven in by Etheridge, who is getting more confident.

"I was a little (intimidated) because I am younger," Etheridge said, "but I am ready for anything."

Next is playing for a region title.

"It's exciting being just a freshmen," she said.

Parkview 13, Central Gwinnett 2

After falling behind 2-0, Parkview scored the next 13 runs in a 13-2 win over Central Gwinnett to advance in the loser's bracket of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament.

The Panthers will play Brookwood at 5 p.m. today with the winner advancing to play Archer, which lost to Grayson in the winner's bracket Tuesday.

The 5 p.m. start time is a change from the originally scheduled 3 p.m.

Amanda Chambers got the win for the Panthers, not allowing an earned run over six innings and striking out nine. She was also 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. Parkview has 15 hits in the win.

Katie Block did the most damage for Parkview knocking in five runs on a 3-for-4 night. Sarah McFall also went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Sara Coker went 2-for-3 with a double for Parkview.

Brookwood 10, Dacula 3

Brookwood bounced back from a loss to Dacula last week to keep its hopes alive in the Region 8-AAAAA tournament with a 10-3 win over Dacula in the loser's bracket.

The loss eliminated the Falcons.

The Broncos only needed nine hits for their 10 runs, led by Megan Litumbe, who was 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Jessica Neidigh went 2-for-3 and was the only other Bronco with more than one hit. She had two RBIs and scored a run in the win. Susan Norris knocked in three runs and scored one on a 1-for-4 night and Brandi Jones went 1-for-3 with two RBIs at the plate.

Jones also got the win, striking out four over seven, six-hit innings. She allowed just one walk.