CONYERS -- The two-time defending Region 8-AAAA champions flexed their muscles Tuesday in Conyers.
Sam LaZear and Olivia Duncan reached base four times each to lead a 15-hit attack as Madison County cruised to 13-2 win over Salem. The Class AAAA No. 4 Red Raiders, who finished fourth in the state a year ago, improved to 9-2 and 4-1 in league play, while the host Seminoles fell to 4-4 and 2-3 against region foes.
Madison County got started right away against Salem right-hander Rylee Rogers. Duncan was hit by a pitch and Ivie Drake's run-scoring double and an RBI-single from Randee Bettis made it 2-0. Bettis moved to third on a wild pitch, Abby Morgan singled and later scored on another wild pitch to make it 4-0.
Salem responded with a pair of runs in its half of the first. Whitney Lester and Rogers had consecutive singles to start the frame and Taylor Beauchamp's double made it 4-1. Two batters later, Patricia Clark grounded out to chase home Beauchamp and make it a 4-2 game. Unfortunately, for Salem, that was all Madison right-hander Gabby Gillespie would allow.
The right-hander didn't have a clean inning until the sixth, allowing a single in the second, third and fifth innings and a pair of singles in the fourth, but worked out of trouble each time. In a complete game, 118-pitch effort, Gillespie scattered nine hits and struck out five.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders offense kept the pressure on Rogers and the Salem defense. Duncan had an infield single that scored a run in the second, then laced a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning. Rogers tossed two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, but the first four batters reached and scored in the Madison seventh to make it a 13-2 game.
Salem travels across town to face Rockdale Thursday at 5:55 p.m., while Madison County head to Columbus for the Shaw Invitational this weekend.