Richelle McDonald had two hits in Lafayette's 9-3 win against Williston. She pitched all seven innings, allowing two hits and no earned runs.  

MAYO, Fla. — After a shaky top of the first inning on defense, Lafayette calmed down and played some excellent softball the rest of the way in Thursday’s regional semifinal.  

The result was a resounding 9-3 home victory against Williston. 

LHS bounced back from two early errors and a 2-0 deficit to advance to a regional final. Richelle McDonald allowed just two hits in seven innings pitched and helped herself out with a 2-4 night at the plate. 

Charlie James added a pair of singles, Ragan Barnes had an RBI double and Lafayette capitalized on four Williston errors.

“The bottom of the first was really the turning point in the game,” said Lafayette coach Derek Garland, whose squad scored twice in the first frame to tie the score at 2. “To answer back and score a couple of runs and settle the nerves a little bit. After that we swung the bats well, Richelle pitched good and defensively we made some plays.”

Lafayette used a four-run fourth inning to pull away. Williston (14-14) opened the door in that inning by walking four batters and committing an error. Barnes had a big RBI double while Hailey Peterson added an RBI single.

Those four runs gave LHS an 8-2 lead.

“We bunted pretty good, we ran the bases well — it was a complete team effort,” said Garland. "Our big thing all year was, we’re going to play a little bit better each night. Each game we’re going to play a little bit better than the last game.”

Catcher McKenzie Winburn reached base three times and also notched an RBI for the Hornets, who have won six of their last seven games and are now 13-12 on the season.

Lafayette heads to Hilliard on Tuesday for a Class 1A Regional Final.  

Bolles outlasts Suwannee to claim district championship 

The Suwannee baseball could not repeat as district champions as the Bulldogs fell 7-4 to Bolles on Thursday.

Playing at Baker County High, Suwannee battled back from an early 4-0 deficit to tie the game at 4 in the top of the fifth. But Bolles responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. 

Wyatt Morrill hit a home run while Bo Bonds and Marquis Jones had one RBI each for Suwannee. 

Patrick Libby earned the win for Bolles, pitching five innings and striking out seven. He allowed four hits and four runs, all unearned. 

Suwannee is back in action on Wednesday in a Class 5A regional quarterfinal at Bishop Kenny High.

Cowboys run-rule Trojans

The Hamilton County baseball team was also defeated in a district championship game, falling 11-1 to Madison County in five innings.

Brad Peacock and Brent Howard each had one hit, the only hits of the night the Trojans could muster against MCHS starter Dilan Lawson.

Hamilton County will play at Williston on Tuesday in a regional semifinal. 

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Mike Jones is a sports writer for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press in North Florida.