Photo: David McGregor Lassiter's Kelsey Wertz gets Peachtree Ridge baserunner Quinn Hill out on the back end of a double play during the Lions 9-6 season ending loss to the Trojans in the second round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs on Tuesday night.
SUWANEE -- It was a hole too deep to dig out of, but that didn't stop Peachtree Ridge from trying.
After dropping the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader in the state Class AAAAAA softball tournament 4-3 to Lassiter, the Lions were suddenly in big trouble.
Game 2 starter Sarah Walker allowed singles to the first eight Trojan batters and Lassiter built a commanding 7-0 lead.
In an inning the season didn't just appear over, but it appeared over in a run-rule fashion.
But senior and Game 1 starter Quin Hill replaced Walker and slowed down the Trojans and the Lions battled back, playing the full seven innings and losing 9-6, ending their season one step away from a trip to the state finals in Columbus.
"They could have easily folded up real quick," Peachtree Ridge head coach Bubba Wilson said. "We've got a special group of girls that battle."
And it started with seniors Hill and Sam Pierannunzi. Hill was in the circle for every one of Lassiter's outs and Pierannunzi homered in each game off Lassiter's McKenzie Kayler. It was a three-run line drive over the right field fence in the bottom of the seventh of Game 2 that brought Peachtree Ridge to within three runs.
"She has gotten a little better every year," Wilson said of Pierannunzi. "She's going to have some fun at Georgia Tech. "
After falling in the big hole, the Lions scored a pair of runs in the second with RBIs from LeAnne Davis and Andy McGregor, and Hill plated fellow senior Kayla Jones with her second hit of the night in the sixth. Along with her two hits, Hill allowed two runs off eight hits over six innings, throwing more than 200 pitches between the two games.
"That's the way she's been all year for us," Wilson said.
In Game 1, Hill walked along the edge too long in the 4-3 loss.
The Lions led 1-0 after Jones knocked in Maiah Johnson in the first inning, but in the third, Hill found her first round of trouble.
The senior allowed a run to score and loaded the bases with two outs, giving Lassiter the chance to take the lead. Hill struck out Sammi Green to end the threat and keep the game tied.
It wasn't tied for long.
Pierannunzi led off the bottom half of the inning by muscling an inside pitch over the right field wall as Peachtree Ridge re-took the lead 2-1. Pierannuzi was the only Lion player with two hits, going 2-for-2 with a single, walk and the solo home run.
But the bases-loaded jam returned for Hill and the Lions in the fifth and this time, the strikeout didn't immediately follow. After walking in the tying run, Lassiter plated two more runs with back-to-back singles by Elise Sandberg and Sarah Brietbach. Hill eventually coaxed a fly out by Murphy Davis to end the inning.
The Lions made it a one-run game after two Trojan errors allowed an unearned run to score.
Hill led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to center field and advanced to third as the tying run, but Lassiter starter Kayler ended the game by getting a ground ball to second by Brandi Mason.
"They are solid," Wilson said of Lassiter. "They are a good team. We are disappointed, but I am still proud of our group."