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Gary Harmon/HHJ Callie Hammerle, Westfield catcher, makes the tag out at home Monday. She took a strong throw from right fielder Hannah Edwards to keep Gatewood from scoring in a 1-0 GISA playoff contest.
 
Gary Harmon/HHJ Westfield first baseman Laura Johnson catches an out throw against the Gatewood Gators.
 
By MATTHEW BROWN
Journal Sports Writer
mbrown@sunmulti.com
If it was a pitcher’s duel you wanted, you got it.
If you prefer a hitting exhibition, you got that, too.
The GISA AAA softball playoffs began Monday at Westfield, and it was as interesting a doubleheader sweep for the region champion Hornets as one could find.
Westfield’s Sydney Barker and Gatewood’s Taylor Head went pitch-for-pitch for what seemed like an eternity in Game 1 until the Hornets pushed across a sixth-inning run for the 1-0 win.
In a completely different set of circumstances for Game 2, the Westfield offense could not be stopped from batting around again and again. It ended in five innings 17-3 and ensured the Hornets of hosting Thursday’s second-round series against the Loganville Christian-Sherwood Christian winner.
Barker, in Game 1, struck out five and did not walk a batter for seven full innings. Gatewood’s Gators, a fourth-place team from the loaded 4-AAA softball region (seven teams), had four hits, but was the first team to make a serious scoring threat.
Head, in her line, surrendered six hits in six innings. She only struck out two and issued one walk, but did induce a lineup’s worth of pop-up outs.
Westfield’s Callie Hammerle led off her team’s initial turn with a single. She was still on base with two outs when Laura Johnson was hit by a pitch and Hannah Livingston walked to load the bases. Head, though, got the needed fly-out to right field, and the Hornets had three of the six runners left on base through five innings.
The most noise Gatewood made with the bats took place in the top of the third. Laura Wade led off with a single and took second on Head’s sacrifice in which Liza McDaniel made a fine play at third base to get the out.
Leadoff hitter Sydney Lack, from the left side, smacked a single to right. Hannah Edwards picked up the softball and fired home to Hammerle a step in time to retire Wade.
Barker threw a called third strike to get Westfield out of the frame. She went on to retire the side in order on three pitches in the fourth and was perfect in both the fifth and sixth. That included a line drive from Lack’s bat into Edwards’ awaiting glove.
Head also had a string of 10 batters in a row retired after back-to-back hits by Barker and Chelsea Whaley in the home third. Livingston ended that by beating out a bunt hit by a step in the bottom of the sixth. She stole second and was safely on third when the Gators tried to get her out on Edwards’ grounder to the shortstop.
Jenni McDaniel, on a 1-2 pitch, blooped a single that dropped in shallow centerfield and broke the tie.
Barker’s string of consecutive outs reached 11. Leslie Calvert broke it with a seventh-inning hit, but Gatewood did not come up with a tying safety.
Game 2 was interesting for one inning, tied at 1-1. But the Hornets, playing as the visitors, had seven straight two-out, no-one-on-base hits for five runs in the second. Westfield then sent 10 batters again to the plate in the third for four runs.
Hammerle singled and scored in the first inning. Whaley and J. McDaniel also had hits, but the Gators returned the Game 1 favor with an out recorded at home plate.
Gatewood had six hits off Barker, who in five complete struck out two and again did not issue a walk. Abbie Ringer doubled with two outs in the home first and scored the tying run on Clavert’s single.
L. McDaniel began the long two-out rally of the Westfield second, which included a two-run single from Barker and RBI doubles from Whaley and Johnson.
The Gators scored two in the home half to make it 6-3, Lack driving in both on a two-out double in the right-center gap.
But the Hornets, for the rest of the game, had 13 hits to score 11 more times. Whaley was 5-for-5 with two more doubles and two more RBI. Livingston had four hits and three RBI, Jenni McDaniel had four hits and Barker and Johnson each drove in three.


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