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Wesleyan bounces back to force deciding Game 3

NORCROSS -- When Washington-Wilkes upset No. 6-ranked Bowdon in the first round of the Class AA state softball tournament, Wesleyan got the break of not having to travel for its second-round series.

Being at home, though, certainly didn't assure the No. 4-ranked Wolves of an easy pass to the Elite Eight next week.

Wesleyan (26-9) had to come back from a shaky performance in a 5-2 loss in the first game Wednesday to defeat Washington-Wilkes 8-0 in the doubleheader nightcap and force a deciding game today.

The Wolves, the second seed from Region 6-AA, will face the Tigers, the fourth-place team from Region 8-AA, at 4 p.m. with a trip to Columbus on the line.

Wesleyan will need to play like it did in the second game, not the first, to earn its second straight spot in the Elite Eight.

"Sloppy? Don't you mean really sloppy?" coach Nicole Dixon said of her team's loss in the opener against Washington-Wilkes (16-15). "That's what happens when you are tight."

Wesleyan managed just three hits against Lauren Chafin and struck out 11 times. Worse yet, the Wolves gift wrapped the Tigers four runs in a decisive fifth inning that featured a two-run single by Chafin, and then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning.

But Wesleyan came to life offensively against Chafin in the second game and Amanda DeLaPerriere allowed just three hits in the five-inning shutout.

The Wolves scored five runs in the second inning, all except one coming after two outs. Victoria DiStasi had a two-run homer in the big inning, which also featured an RBI triple by Riley Henning and an RBI single by CaraMia Tsirigos.

Wesleyan, the designated visiting team in the second game, added three runs in the top of the fifth and the game was ended by the mercy rule in the bottom of the inning with a double play.

DeStasi had three hits in the doubleheader, including an RBI triple in the opener.

Wesleyan is a win away from a trip back to Columbus despite playing most of the season without star outfielder Landyn Duley, who has a fractured foot.

"She is a great player player and we've really had to change a lot of things without her," Dixon said. "I know how much she wants to play."