VALDOSTA - The 2019 edition of the Tift County Lady Devils softball team just keeps making history.

In their latest effort, they did something that no one currently on the team had ever done: beat Lowndes.

The Lady Devils took a 7-4 victory in the opening game of Thursday's Region 1-AAAAAAA doubleheader in Valdosta. It was the first time they had beaten Lowndes in four years and the first time Tift won a region opener since 2013.

Lowndes came back to win the second game, 5-0, a contest head coach Taylor Barber said was 1-0 most of the way.

The Vikettes struck first with a tally in the first inning. Instead of rolling, however, Lowndes was faced with a different Tift County.

"We had a different intensity," said Barber, adding his squad had not been scared of Lowndes leading up to the games.

Abi Sumner singled and advanced to third on a double by Paige Hill. Meg Branch drove in Sumner with a sacrifice fly.

After that, the floodgates opened as the Lady Devils added five runs in the third inning for a 6-1 lead.

Kloie Varnadoe became run No. 2 when Sumner reached on an error. A Hill base hit scored Alaina Stephens, then Branch singled in Josie Bullington. Alayna Davis completed scoring for the inning by doubling in Sumner and Hill.

Hill was in the circle for the game. She gave up three earned runs in a complete game. Two of the runs were on a home run in the sixth when Tift led 6-2.

"Paige Hill had a big first game," said Barber. "Paige did a phenomenal job."

He had high praise for the defense for the evening. "We played fantastic in the field," he said.

Barber said the effort was such during the doubleheader that the players would have run through a brick wall for one another.

Game two ended in Lowndes' favor, but through no fault of its pitcher, Sumner.

"We didn't swing it at all," said Barber. Hill and Niambi Battle had one hit each.

Before the games, Barber told them there were perhaps only three people that believed they could win - himself and his assistants.

At the end of the night, Barber said the result ended up as yet another thing this class accomplished.

Tift, now 5-4, is slated to host Crisp County Tuesday before traveling to Camden County next Thursday for its second region doubleheader.

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