Lady Lions play for state championship tonight at home

  • The Franklin County Lady Lions have to win one of the two possible games today on their home field to bring home a second consecutive state softball championship.
    The Franklin County Lady Lions have to win one of the two possible games today on their home field to bring home a second consecutive state softball championship.

Rain washed out the chance to finish the 2019 AAA softball state championship game on Saturday in Columbus.

The game will instead be finished today at 4:30 p.m. at Franklin County High School in Carnesville. A second game, if necessary, will follow.

Franklin Fastpitch earned the right to host the game by being the only undefeated team left in the Elite Eight tournament that was played Thursday through Saturday in Columbus.

The Ringgold Lady Tigers, who is the only team left to stand in the way of Franklin's second straight state softball championship, lost their first game of the tournament but have battled back to make it to the championship game.

Ringgold came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in state polls, with Franklin County ranked No. 2.

For Ringgold to win the title, they will have to win the suspended game that will resume at 4:30 in Carnesville and then defeat Franklin again immediately afterward in a second game.

The game will resume today in the top of the fifth inning, with Franklin County trailing 7-5. Ringgold is batting with two outs and a runner on third.

Neither team scored in the first inning of the game Saturday.

Franklin scored first, on a solo home run by Lauren Hambrick in the bottom of the second inning.

That 1-0 lead for the Lady Lions didn't last long, as Ringgold scored on a single and a pair of doubles in the top of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead.

Franklin tied the game in the bottom of the third.

Sarah York led off with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kalyn Jinks and moved to third on a single by Jayden Gailey.

Jaden Cheek then his a long fly ball for an out that allowed York to score to tie the game at 2-2.

One inning later, the Lady Lions surged ahead.

Hambrick reached on a fielder's choice for the inning's first out.

Ginger MItchell and Ellee Varner followed with back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases.

With two outs, Jinks doubled to empty the bases and push the Lady Lions ahead 5-2 after the fourth inning.

As rain began to fall Saturday, Ringgold came to bat in the top of the fifth.

With one out, the Lady Tigers put a runner on due to an error by Franklin.

Ringgold followed with a double, an intentional walk, a walk, a single and another double to score five straight runs and go ahead 7-5.

The inning's second out came on a popout.

Just before play was stopped Saturday, a Ringgold base runner moved to third after a pitch slipped away due to the rain for a wild pitch.

A heavy shower flooded the Columbus field.

Georgia High School Association officials initially announced that games would resume in Columbus three hours after the initial delay, which would have meant games resuming around 7:30 p.m.

At the time of the suspension, seven of the state's eight state championship games were still being contested on fields at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus.

Coaches were then called to a meeting.

Franklin Coach Jason Oliver said officials offered to allow the two teams to agree on a location to finish the tournament.

If coaches could not agree, then work would begin on their respective field to resume the game in Columbus.

Should more rain come, the officials told the coaches, then the GHSA would set the site, which would be at the home field of the undefeated team.

Oliver said Ringgold's coach wanted to wait it out.

About an hour later, after work began to prepare the fields for play to resume, another rain storm cancelled those plans and sent the tournament to the home fields of the teams undefeated in the bracket, including Franklin County.

Today's game in Carnesville will be free of charge to spectators.