That one word sums up exactly what the Thomson Lady Bulldogs had to do to get past Locust Grove in the second round of the Class AAA softball state playoffs at the Thomson field on Wednesday.
Game 1 was a relatively easy win for Thomson, even though they didn't hit the ball as well as they have been doing of late. They blanked Locust Grove's Lady Wildcats 6-0 and then held on to beat them again in Game 2, 8-6.
It marks Thomson's second straight sweep of a team in this year's playoffs. They now are bound for the Elite Eight series, which gets underway today in Columbus. Thomson will play either Heritage-Catoosa or Walnut Grove in the next round.
"We've been battling back for the past several weeks," Thomson coach Jason Osborn said. "We've become battlers."
Osborn said he was proud of his players and their determination to battle back when they were forced to in Game 2.
"It's great to be going to back to Columbus," Osborn said.
Locust Grove, a second year school from Henry County -- some 40 miles south of Atlanta -- gave Thomson everything they could handle in Game 2. After the Lady Bulldogs took Game 1, the Lady Wildcats seemed determined not to lie down and just take it. They proved it by jumping on Thomson with three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Thomson already had taken a 1-0 lead when Hannah Wilson led off with a triple and eventually scored on a pass ball.
The big hit in the first for Locust Grove was a two-run homer by Amanda Winters that sailed over the centerfield fence. Emily Brown singled and later scored on a RBI infield hit by Tina Dexter.
Thomson cut into the lead with another run in the second, but the Lady Wildcats matched it in the bottom half of that inning.
Locust Grove led 4-2 going into the top of the third inning. It was then that the Thomson bats awakened a little bit and thus knocked Game 1 and Game 2 starting pitcher Amanda Winters out of the game, as they struck for three runs to take a 5-4 lead.
In the third and fourth innings, Thomson pitcher Brooke Herkel retired the Lady Wildcats in order before getting into trouble again in the fifth. Even though Locust Grove loaded the bases after pushing across another run, she was able to get them out without any further damage.
Locust Grove came back in the sixth with another run and threatened to score more, but two fine defensive plays, both turned in by leftfielder Khadeja Fanning, thwarted that from happening. One of the plays Fanning made was a diving under-hand catch.
Thomson's Hannah Wilson, the senior shortstop who is a considered a major college prospect, gave her team a little comfort when she belted a line drive homerun over the right centerfield fence in the top of the sixth. It was her eighth homer of the season and her second in as many games against Locust Grove. In the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 1, she hit a solo shot over the right field fence.
The Lady Bulldogs scored an insurance run in the seventh after Fanning walked and later scored on a pass ball.