More than anything, the Lady Bulldogs of Thomson High School want to win the Region 3-AAA softball championship and go as far into the state playoffs as possible this season.
They're on their way after defeating the visiting Liberty County Lady Panthers, 9-1, in their first region game of the season last Saturday at the Thomson field.
The Lady Bulldogs, who sported an overall record of 7-1 going into this week's Tuesday game against the Westside Lady Patriots, have been defeated only once this season. The 7-6 loss came at the hands of the Washington-Wilkes Lady Tigers in Washington last Thursday. The Thomson team also won a nonregion game over the Westside Lady Patriots in Augusta last week.
Thomson head coach Jason Osborn was most pleased with his team's impressive victory over Liberty County.
"It was a great region win -- the first of many, I hope, this season," coach Osborn said. "I thought we played with a lot of energy and intensity. And we got some pretty good pitching from Maegan Bentley that helped us, too. We also played pretty good defense."
Bentley, a sophomore, pitched one of her best games and the timing couldn't have been at a better time.
The Lady Bulldogs allowed the Lady Panthers their lone run in an unearned way -- the third baseman miscuing on a throw to first base that allowed the leadoff batter in the top of the sixth inning to reach base. Bentley faced a total of 21 batters and gave up only three hits -- all singles -- and struck out seven.
"My curve ball was my pitch against Liberty County," Bentley said after the game. "I was very pleased with the win over them."
Thomson wasted no time, offensively speaking. The Lady Bulldogs erupted for six runs during their first two-at-bats and never had to look back.
In the first inning, junior shortstop Hannah Wilson hit a one-out single into left center field. She later stole second base and moved to third when senior catcher Hannah Pereda smashed a double. Wilson later scored on an RBI sacrifice fly to center field by second baseman Brooke Herkel. Miranda Barker, running for Pereda, later scored on an RBI single by freshman third baseman Jadah Lawson. Thomson took a 3-0 lead when senior first baseman Chelsea Reeves hit an RBI double into the left center field gap that scored Lawson.
Thomson tallied three more runs to take a 6-0 lead after two innings of play.
Freshman Haley Poss led off the second with a single and raced home when senior center fielder Heather Shivers tripled. Wilson followed with a RBI triple that scored Shivers. Wilson later scored Thomson's sixth run by stealing home plate.
Senior right fielder Shey Price singled in the third, but was left stranded. In the bottom of the fourth, the Lady Bulldogs' Brea Boutwell scored after Pereda collected her second of three hits in the game. Lawson drove the runner home with an RBI single. Thomson was held scoreless in the fifth, despite a double by Shivers.
The Lady Bulldogs' last two runs scored in the bottom of the sixth. Pereda singled and was lifted so that Boutwell could run for her. Boutwell along with Lawson, who later drew a walk, both scored on back-to-back RBI singles by Charlette Farmer and Poss.
In the game against Washington-Wilkes, Thomson started strong, scoring three runs in the first inning, two in the fourth and one in the fifth. However, the Lady Tigers of head coach Rob Jackson tied the game at 3-3 with three runs in the third. They also pushed across four runs in the fourth, which spelled the difference in the outcome of the game.
Leading hitters for the Lady Bulldogs in that game included: Heather Shivers, 1-for-3; Hannah Wilson, 2-for-2; Hannah Pereda, 1-for-3 with 2 RBI; Jadah Lawson, 1-for-4 with a double and 1 RBI; Chelsea Reeves, 3-for-4 with a solo homerun; and Tasha Seals, 2-for-4. Maegan Bentley was the losing pitcher.
Meanwhile in the game against Westside last Tuesday, Bentley picked up another win on the mound.
Leading hitters for Thomson included: Shivers, 3-for-3 with single, double and triple and 3 RBI; Wilson, 2-for-2 with 3 RBI; Pereda, 1-for-4 with a double; Caitlin Carpenter, a pair of doubles and 2 RBI; Shey Price, a sacrifice RBI; Haley Poss, 1-for-2 and Seals, 1-for-1.