Suwannee's Lady Dog softball team won the first round of regional play Thursday, May 5, against Marianna. The Lady Dogs were district runners-up which qualified them to continue in the playoff series. Marianna hosted the game and Suwannee won a tough up and down battle 7-6.

Al Cash led off in the first inning with a walk. Steph Starling hit a single and Kate Townsend hit a single driving in Cash for the first run of the game.

Lea Schenck drove in Starling for the second run of the game and Katie Smith drove in Townsend for run number three. Suwannee was on the board with three runs.

Senior Katie Smith started on the mound for Suwannee. Smith and Suwannee's defense retired the first two batters. The third batter doubled, but was stranded on base.

In the second inning, Deanne Wainwright singled and stole second and third base, but was left on. Marianna was unable to put anything on the scoreboard. The lady Dogs went into inning number three up 3-0.

Suwannee went scoreless in the third. Marianna led off with a single, but Katie Smith struck out the next batter. Kate Townsend was hit by a grounder. Townsend still managed to throw the runner out at first, but Marianna's lead off batter scored. After three Suwannee was still up 3 - 1.

Neither team scored any runs in the fourth. Cash led off again in the fifth inning. She walked again. Starling made it to second base on a throwing error and Cash scored. Schenck walked. With Jenna Jordan up to bat, Starling stole third base and Schenck stole second. Jordan laid down a great bunt, the pitcher picked up the ball, looked back at Starling and tried to throw Jordan out. Jordan reached first base safely and Starling scored a run. Jordan attempted to steal second base and while Marianna was trying to get Jordan out, Schenck scored. Suwannee comes away with three more runs. The score going into the bottom of the fifth was Suwannee up 6-1.

But Marianna was not giving up. They scored two runs in bottom of the inning to make it the 6 - 3 going into inning number six.

The Lady Dogs went scoreless in the sixth and even though Smith struck out two batters, Marianna opened up on the lady Dogs scoring three. With two outs and two on base, Jill Mathis (Marianna's best hitter) drilled a home run hit over left center field to tie the game 6-6. With two outs and no batters on base, Lea Schenck came in to relieve Smith and pitch the last out. Schenck got the batter to pop up and catcher, Starling, makes the final out of the inning.

The seventh inning was Suwannee's chance to take the lead. Cash led off for the third time and hit a nice single. The next batter flied out on the infield. The third batter was out at first, but Cash advanced to second.

With two outs, game tied, Schenck hit a base hit to right field. Cash, running the whole time, rounded third base before the ball was thrown in and slid into home for the seventh run. Suwannee's at-bat was over, but the Lady Dogs were in the lead 7-6. it was now up to Schenck to hold Marianna scoreless through one more inning.

Schenck gave up a double to the lead-off hitter. She struck out batter number-two but the lead-off hitter stole third and was poised in scoring position. With one out and a runner at third, Suwannee needed two more outs with out a run scoring. The third batter hit the ball back to Schenck who checked the runner at third and threw to first for the second out of the inning, with a runner at third. Schenck struck out the fourth batter to end the game. The lady Dogs won 7-6.

Suwannee has made it to the "Sweet 16" and played West Nassau in the regional playoffs May 10. Go Lady Dogs!

Janet Schrader-Seccafico may be reached by calling 1/386/362-1734 ext. 134 or by e-mail at janet.schrader@gaflnews.com.

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