COVINGTON - Local Newton County players made a huge impact in the outcome of the 4-3 Georgia Perimeter win over Young Harris on Saturday.
Newton's Nichole Stanford had two hits and scored twice while Eastside's Heather Hodge had two RBIs in the win.
Christie Rice, also from Eastside, not only had the team's only double, she also had an assisted out at first base in the inning where the Lady Mountain Lions scored all three of their runs.
After Hodge threw Young Harris' Kat Teserakova out at first to end the top of the first inning, the Lady Jaguars gave the home crowd a show.
Brittany Boeshore put Georgia Perimeter in the lead on an Ashley Hill single before Stanford made the Lady Mountain Lions pay for their lack on concentration by scoring before they had a chance to react.
Hill crossed the plate to make it 3-0 on a Hodge sacrifice fly.
The Lady Jaguars were in trouble in the fourth inning when Young Harris had runners on first and second with one out. However, Lady Jaguars catcher Alisa Malte threw the ball to Stanford at third base on a double steal for the second out.
Malte was also instrumental in the final out throwing the ball to Hodge at first on an attempted bunt by Bailey Cross.
The local connection of Hodge and Stanford came into play in the fifth inning when Hodge ripped a line drive plating Stanford to make it 4-0.
The run turned out to be crucial as Young Harris scored three runs in the top of the sixth.
"I was a little concerned," Lady Jaguars coach Ed Schutte said. "They came back but their top hitters were gone; the bottom of the order really hadn't done much all day.
"I was worried that a blooper might do something but I didn't feel like they were going to hit it. If that had happened at the bottom and they were hitting their three and four hitters, I would have been very concerned."
Georgia Perimeter had a chance to extend its lead in the bottom of the sixth when Rice got on base with a lead-off double.
After Lady Jaguars pitcher Kimmy Hobbs moved her to third on a sacrifice bunt, there was not enough fire power to push her the final 60 feet.
"You can't let it die. The secret is you've got to have a ground ball on the right side in that situation. And we just didn't execute in that inning," Schutte said. "We should have had seven or eight runs on that board but we didn't because we didn't execute ground balls."
It turned out that the extra runs were not needed as the Lady Jaguars helped Hobbs by turning three grounders into three outs to end the game.
In seven innings of work, Hobbs had one strikeout while hitting one batsman and giving up one walk and seven hits.
"Kimmy pitched a whale of a game. I thought she had very good control of her pitches today. She stayed ahead of her count and that's what she has to do to, she could win with that," Schutte said.
Stanford led the team at the plate going 2-for-2 with Malte, Hill, Hodge and Rice getting one hit each.
This was the first weekend the Lady Jaguars played before their home crowd.
On Friday, Georgia Perimeter defeated Andrew College by the same 8-0 score in both games of the doubleheader.
"It feels great, like I want to stay here for a while. It feels good to play on your home field," Schutte said. "We've had 39 away games. It's good to finally get a chance to play at home with our crowd and our setting."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.