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Hawks softball rolls in Game 3

MARIETTA -- Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good. Seventh-ranked Mill Creek was both.

Nikki Sagermann went 2-for-4 with a two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth and gave up one earned run on four hits to lead the Region 7-AAAAA No. 2 seed Hawks to a 6-1 road victory over ninth-ranked Lassiter in the third game of their best-of-three second round of the Class AAAAA state playoff series on Friday. It's Mill Creek's first trip to Columbus since 2008, when it won the state championship.

Mill Creek (28-10-1), which advanced to face Hillgrove in the state finals in Columbus on Thursday, had several big hits, including an RBI triple from Mackinsey Fagioli, and a sacrifice fly from Lauren Bennett in the fourth inning that gave the Hawks a 4-1 lead.

Mill Creek, which totaled eight hits, also got help from four Lassiter errors, three of which led to two runs in the third inning to put the Hawks on top 2-1.

What could have been ruled an error in the fourth -- a dropped pop foul -- that would have given Mill Creek two outs, resulted in Bennett's sacrifice fly.

"We had 12 errors in three games and you're not supposed to win a series when you make 12 errors," Lassiter coach Scott Kelly said. "Give credit to Mill Creek. They put the ball in play and made us play around with it. We got beat by a better team.

"When you sit there and look at it, we had a good season. You hate to lose your last game, but there's nothing we can do."

Region 5-AAAAA champion Lassiter (24-10) got on the board first after Carli Kayler, who was 1-for-2, blasted a lead-off solo home run in the second for a 1-0 Trojans advantage.

The Trojans also didn't do themselves any favors with a few base running miscues as Mill Creek turned double plays in the second, third and fourth innings, and forced Lassiter to strand a runner on third base in the first inning.

Sagermann didn't allow a runner to reach second over the final three innings and faced three batters in the sixth and seventh frames.

After Kayler's homer in the top of the second gave Lassiter a one-run lead, Mill Creek responded in the bottom half of the inning. Alissa Stringer singled and Bennett reached first on a fielder's choice. Three Lassiter errors in the inning helped score Stringer and Bennett to put the Hawks up by one.

Morgan Bell led off the fourth with a single and scored on Fagioli's triple. Stringer walked in the next at-bat after surviving the missed foul pop out, resulting in Bennett's sacrifice fly that scored Fagioli and gave Mill Creek a 4-1 edge.

Lassiter pitcher Mackenzie Kayler, who allowed six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and struck out three in six innings, got the first two outs in the sixth. However, Bennett and Jenna Holland hit back-to-back two-out singles and Sagermann followed with her two-RBI double to extend Mill Creek's margin to the eventual 6-1 final.

Shelby Sinclair, Erin Leonard and Sammi Green also had hits for Lassiter.

"We had some opportunities, but the plays of the game were on defense," said Mill Creek coach Roger Parham. "We turned three double plays, which totally changed the complexity of those innings. You don't see that an awful lot. Those were huge. We hit it when we needed to and took advantage of our opportunities to score.

"Scott (Kelly) does a great job with his kids, and he needs to be commended for the great job he did all year long."

Comments

mcsoftballfan 2 years, 5 months ago

I have watched all these girls in the gwinnett county schools for so long play softball. They are all deserving of what they achieve. What I am so disappointed in is the press and the articles written. Come on better to be lucky than good! For 4 years I read some of the worst comments made by the writters. Mill Creek has a very talented team and this paper makes it seem like they are not deserving of their achievements. Gwinnett county has so many talented schools. They are all deserving of good press and good comments not leaving any school out. It is obvious by the articles how most of the sport writers feel about Mill Creek. Shame on all of you. On any given day anyone of these schools can beat the other. This is because the talent in Gwinnett county is unbelievable. Mill Creek just plained whipped Lassiter. In the first game Lassiter scored on 2 runs with 3 errors by Mill Creek. They had only one hit the game. You state Lassiter had hits to score the run. Not true. Mill Creek run did reach on an error but you stated that. Get the facts correct. In the second game pressure was applied to Lassiter and they fell apart. The same thing in the 3rd game. No contest here.

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AnotherMCFan 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree with MCSoftballFan that Gwinnett county has so many talented schools. I would like to know why Gwinnett Daily Post seems to favor one particular school over the others. One would think when the headline dated on 9/14/11 says "Mitchell, Mill Creek come up big in 9-5 victory over Collins Hll" that you would have a picture of the winning team's pitcher, rather than the losing one. It's a shame that there is so much bias against Mill Creek in the newspaper.

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Creative 2 years, 5 months ago

@mcsoftball fan:

If you look closely at the first two sentences, I don't think this writer was saying that Mill Creek was "better to be lucky than good!" as you put it. The writer was saying that Mill Creek was lucky AND good. I don't disagree with you, however, about Mill Creek coverage. But, in this instance, Mill Creek played very well, and the Lassiter coach said they "got beat by the better team," but the errors were certainly a part of the game that helped the Hawks score runs. Even coach Parham said the team "took advantage of our opportunities to score." Those advantages included big hits that scored runs and big hits that forced Lassiter into errors that helped Mill Creek score runs. Those are the correct facts.

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mcsoftballfan 2 years, 5 months ago

Well said Creative. I guess the issue here for me is reading the sports page and feeling that some teams are not given respect that they have earned. So many times I have read the paper and felt a complete bias towards some teams. All of these girls work very hard and are very excited to get the recognition in the paper. I will use anotherMCFan comment as an example. Collins Hill has a fantastic team with great athletes. Without a doubt one of the best teams in the state. They are not only great competitors but also have great pitching. When Mill Creek and Collins Hill meet it is always a battle. They respect us and we respect them. When we met them in that first meeting and was able to win that game it was huge for us. Any team would be happy to beat a team like Collins Hill. Tori Mitchell pitched a game she will never forget but to wake up the next morning and the paper reflects more on the losing pitcher is just wrong. She deserved and earned that spot light!

Recently the paper did an article on 2 seniors attempting to go back to state. They were there as Freshman. Front page with a big picture! Did you know that Mill Creek has 3 Freshman that is trying to accomplish the same thing as Seniors! Now the team referred to with the 2 seniors is out and Mill Creeks Seniors are in. Mill Creek is going to state and what is the chance of article about our three seniors.

Not asking for anything special just fairness with the reporting. As I said before Gwinnett County has so much talent and all of these girls are deserving of some credit for their hard work. In 5A I am so pulling for Collins Hill, Brookwood, and Mill Creek next week!

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softballwatcher 2 years, 5 months ago

MCsoftballfan, you are right on the money. When Tori Mitchell pitched that game to beat Collins Hill, that was a big accomplishment for herself and her teammates to beat a great team. Yes, imagine how she felt the next morning to see a picture of the losing pitcher. Too much emphasis being put put on Collins Hill and Buford City softball. There are other talented athletes in Gwinnett County besides them. These girls look forward to your articles and some of these girls are not getting fair recongnization. Let's do a better job.

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Socrates 2 years, 5 months ago

Sometimes, it’s better to be subjective instead of objective. Unless you’re part of the media. In which case, objectivity should always take precedence. And unless I’ve missed my guess, the Gwinnett Daily Post would like to consider itself part of the media.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Subjective bias is an inseparable part of a human being; one can no more remove themselves from bias than one can remove themselves from emotions or thoughts. But I’ve always operated under the assumption that those who seek to inform the masses, an admirable goal if I’ve ever known one, would do their best to offer their information in a manner that is both professional and objective with just a tinge of the ‘human’ element (see: humor, allusions, metaphors, etc) to draw interest from readers.

But it seems my assumption was made in false ideals, if reading this article is anything to go by. I hesitate to make such a sweeping judgment on an entire group of people based on the actions of one, but I find it difficult to justify how this was allowed to be published when the poor wording could have, and certainly has, provoked many frustrated and upset responses. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, those at the Gwinnett Daily Post, that words have power. I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that even if your desire for words to have a certain impact, you have to be careful not to send the opposite message. And I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that the first sentence of your article, the one so obviously designed to catch the eye of the reader and prove interesting enough to read the rest of the article, should be the first and most important sentence to scrutinize.

Please humor my elementary understanding of journalism as I try to understand what you attempted to do and offer any insight to what I might be missing.

“Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good. Seventh-ranked Mill Creek was both.”

This is clearly the biggest source of conflict here. Now if I am correct in my assumption that the first sentence of the article is meant to pull the reader into the story (which may be wrong, I am merely deducing this from what I would expect logically), then you very clearly succeeded. For better or worse, that is. Lucky, while not an innately negative word, was not the best choice to make here unless your desire was to anger a majority of Mill Creek fans. Perhaps in betting on racing, or getting the last box of your cereal from the grocery store, or finding an extra 20 you forgot about in your coat pocket, one would consider lucky an excellent word to describe the person with. Why? Because none of those things take any skill.

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Socrates 2 years, 5 months ago

But to attribute luck to a sport? I can’t imagine any sports player having a positive reaction to their skill being attributed to luck. What would you say if you worked hours a day, five days a week, for years to achieve a certain level of skill and to eventually make an accomplishment, only for someone to say that you were merely lucky? Or perhaps on a more personal note for some, that you worked in your job for years, putting all your time and effort into it for a promotion, and finally get it, only for someone to go around and tell everyone that you only got it because you were lucky. Would you be angry? I know I would be.

But don’t get me wrong here. I can see where the author was attempting to attribute luck: the errors made by the other team and how Mill Creek capitalized on them. But I’m not sure I follow the logic behind that: how is one person making an error suddenly a lucky break for the other team? In my mind, the better team, the more skilled team, is the team that makes the least amount of errors while striving to take advantage of the opportunities that the other team left open. The players practice day in and day out so that these errors don’t occur; wouldn’t it be feasible to deduce that if Team A made more errors and Team B made less errors, then Team B is the more likely to win? Naturally, I assume that the game of competitive softball is a bit more complex than being reduced to such a simplistic deduction. But what I am trying to emphasize with it is that by the author attributing to luck one team’s capitalizing on the other’s team’s errors, he is effectively undermining the former’s team effort and skill.

So, to sum up a rather lengthy post, I would like to spell out the issue I have. There appears to be two possible reasons for why this article was published the way it is. The first is that it was designed with obvious bias against the Mill Creek team, something that reflects negatively on both the author and the Gwinnett Daily Post as a whole when they should be striving to be an objective, trustworthy source. If this is the case, then believe me when I say that you should be ashamed to consider what you write as any form of rhetoric. The second, and hopefully more likely, is that the author and editors did not invest as much time as they should have into the review of this article and missed the antagonistic draw in. If this is the case, then I would humbly suggest that you take a bit more time to review what you publish. I know human error is inevitable, but as a media source that informs thousands, you are held to a higher position of responsibility than others. You cannot afford to make such mistakes and still uphold a respectable reputation.

Any and all response would be welcome, especially from a representative of the paper. I would love to have a better understanding of the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of this article.

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MCObserver 2 years, 5 months ago

This article does begin on a condescending note, hardly considering that Lassiter should be considered lucky to even win game 1. I saw these games, and Mill Creek dominated Lassiter. Relentless hitting, relentless defense and team chemistry were Mill Creek's forte in this playoff. I would venture to guess that the writer of this article was not even at the game as he did not touch upon the defensive play of the game where on a play at third base, the Mill Creek fielder (not sure who) took a throw from the centerfielder, tagged a runner, who started on first, out at third on a perfect throw, and then was alert enough to throw to 2nd base to cut down the batter trying to take second on the play, completing a game altering double play. If you had seen this game you should have highlighted this play. Instead, you chose to say Mill Creek is lucky and good, mentioning "lucky" first. This team is good, first and foremost. Good teams make their own luck. This team was the better team (thanks to the Lassiter coach's kind words) and earned a well deserved trip to state. Congrats to the Hawks, and shame on the Daily Post for their obvious bias favoring other good Gwinnett teams.

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luvthegame 2 years, 5 months ago

"Luck is just opportunity meeting preparedness”. "Once or twice, you could sell the luck argument. But when a team does it that often, it's a trait -- an acquired skill."

Alissa Stringer / Senior / # 1 / Outfield Jenna Holland / Senior / # 4 / Outfield, 2B Chandler Griffin / Senior / # 11 / Infield Breanna Buckley / Senior / # 13 / 1B Tori Mitchell / Senior / # 15 / Pitcher Nikki Sagermann / Senior / # 17 / 3B Anyssa Robles / Senior / # 18 / Catcher Taylor Ward / Senior / Mgr.

Mackenzie Bass / Junior / # 3 / Outfield Britanny Abbott / Junior / # 5 / Outfield Lauren Bennett / Junior / # 6 / Infield Jessica Grimes / Junior / # 8 / Pitcher Taylor Rogers / Junior / # 20 / Pitchers

Kaetlyn Porter / Sophomore / #2 / Pitcher Emily Robertson / Sophomore / # 16 / Outfield Morgan Bell / Sophomore / # 24 / 1B/3B Christina Evans / Sophomore / # 7 / Outfield McKenzie Fagioli / Sophomore / # 10 / 2B

*If I misssed somebody, I'm very sorry!

GOOD LUCK AT STATES...BRING HOME THE HARDWARE!

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